ATHENS, Ala. – A news conference called by Former Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakely was a maze of information Tuesday morning.
But one thing was clear, there has been an immediate shift in Blakely’s everyday life after his criminal conviction in August.
“You know when you lose your job, your health insurance, your vehicle, and something that you’ve been doing for the last 38 and a half years, it’s a big game-changer,” he said.
Blakely maintains his innocence.
“Quite honestly, I wouldn’t be appealing this case if I felt like I was guilty, and everything was hunky-dory in my trial.”
Even so, Blakely expressed faith in the legal system during the news conference.
“I think the majority, the people that know me and appreciate the job we’ve done for the past 38 years, you know, are very supportive,” he said. “They don’t buy into a lot of the hype and the insinuations the innuendos, the things that were made.”
The judge presiding over his case denied him bond following the guilty verdict so Blakely sat in the confinement of his own jail for just over a couple of weeks. News 19 heard about his experience firsthand Tuesday.
“The best jail in the state of Alabama and that’s another thing I’m proud of,” Blakely said. “The food was real good, the staff took very good care of me.”
The former sheriff addressed rumors surrounding preferential treatment in the jail.
“I was incarcerated, whether they kept me in my office upfront or whether they put me in the hole in the back, when you’re incarcerated let me tell you you don’t have the freedom to go,” he said. “They have officers that would go out with me when I exercised. I had no problem, if they wanted to put me in there with the general population I would’ve been fine.”
Blakely’s favorite meal he had as an inmate?
“We had cabbage, we had beans, cornbread. Stuff I grew up on.”
After he was found guilty, a community member who regularly observed the trial started a GoFundMe for Blakely to help with his expenses and legal fees.
News 19 asked Blakely about his financial standings. He says that’s been an adjustment as well.
“I did have a paycheck but now, you know, it’s it’s something that’s quite an adjustment,” he said. “I never was someone that had, you had a lot of wealth, I mean I live on the 40 acres of my granddaddy bought in 1914. I’ve got some horses and I’ve got, you know, a very modest house and drive an old pickup truck that my grandson had worn out.”
The former sheriff says since his indictment he’s faced many critics, however, he remains hopeful.
“They say if you throw enough stuff against the wall, some of it’s gonna stick. And I think that’s kinda what happened in my case. I’m not guilty of what I was convicted of. I really feel very positive going into this appeal.”