FLORENCE, Ala. – The trial of a former attorney and a Florence businessman scheduled for the week of August 13th has been delayed. It’s been more than two years since the men were indicted on charges of human trafficking.
Edward “Chip” Dillard has been locked up since his arrest in May of 2016. This week his attorney requested more time to prepare, and the motion was granted,
Despite opposition from prosecutors and defense attorneys for Timothy Staggs, 86-year-old Timothy Staggs was indicted the same month as Dillard. He faces 8-counts of human trafficking and four other counts of conspiring to commit human trafficking.
The Alabama Attorney General’s Office led the investigation and grand jury which handed down the indictments.
Dillard, a former Florence attorney, faces 20-felony charges which range from human trafficking to sexual abuse and intimidating a witness.
Prosecutors say Dillard worked with Staggs to take advantage of females in the Lauderdale County Detention Center. Once they were able to get them out of jail, prosecutors have said the females would be forced into sexual servitude for payback.
Because Dillard was a practicing attorney in Lauderdale County, prosecutors and judges recused themselves from the case. Lawrence County Circuit Judge Mark Craig has been overseeing proceedings. A motion to hold separate trials for Dillard and Staggs has also been denied.
Judge Craig tentatively set the trial for Dillard and Staggs to be heard by a jury during the week of December 10th in Lauderdale County.
A third man, Reginald Brett Mitchell, was also indicted in connection with the case for tampering with evidence. He pleaded guilty and has been sentenced to 12-months in jail.