Longest-serving Madison County Assistant District Attorney remembers nearly 33 year career

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -  The longest-serving assistant district attorney in Madison County left the courthouse for the last time as a prosecutor a little more than a week ago. She was also a member of an elite group: some of the first women to serve in the county's office.

It took a strong woman to work in a man's world in the 1980s. Rebekah Callahan remembers those days.

"When I was young, a defense attorney, an older man, told me that I dress like a man," Callahan remembered. "Because in the 80's we wore, well actually when I was interviewing with Budd Cramer, I was wearing a navy blue Poplin suit made by Corbin except for mine had a skirt. He was wearing the exact same but his had pants."

But, that's okay, she just made a quick change.

"So for years, if I had a trial, I wore something pink," Callahan said.

As she looked at a picture of herself wearing a pink power suit, she remembered being a 27-year-old woman beginning a 32 year and nine-month career with the Madison County District Attorney's Office in 1985.

"I was about to quit law school, and so I heard of Ellen Brooks who later became the DA in Montgomery County, and I thought I could do that," Callahan said.

Eventually, she made it back home to Huntsville where she would prosecute many cases, mainly white-collar crime, embezzlement and voter fraud.

"It's like putting together a big jigsaw puzzle, so I like doing those kinds of cases," Callahan said.

Callahan said the case she's most proud of involved a man named Clyde Wayne Gregory. The case had dozens of victims, left penniless.

"He stole almost $7 million from 82 victims," Callahan explained.

As a new retiree, Callahan said stepping away from the courtroom isn't the hard part, it's missing the people.

"I think we're blessed here in Madison County with our law enforcement," Callahan said. "So many men and women in law enforcement that really go above and beyond their call of duty."

Callahan officially retired on January 31. Aside from prosecuting white-collar crime, Rebekah Callahan also coordinated the grand jury for 15 years. She said she believes she was the 10th female attorney to work at the D.A.'s office in 1985.