ATHENS, Ala. – Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakely, who’s been in office 38 years, was convicted Monday on a theft charge and an ethics charge and will be removed from office.
During several hours of deliberation over two days, jurors reviewed the five theft and five ethics charges and returned two guilty verdicts. Blakely is charged with misusing funds from his campaign account and funds from the sheriff’s office.
- Count 1 – Not Guilty
- Count 2 – Guilty – Theft of Property First Degree, a Class B Felony
- Count 3 – Not Guilty
- Count 4 – Not Guilty
- Count 8 – Not Guilty
- Count 9 – Not Guilty
- Count 10 – Not Guilty
- Count 11 – Not Guilty
- Count 12 – Not Guilty
- Count 13 – Guilty – Use of official position or office for personal gain, a Class B Felony
On Friday, the state and defense gave their closing arguments and the jury began their deliberations.
Since Blakely was found guilty of two felony charges, he will be removed from office effective immediately. By law, the Limestone County Coroner Mike West will now be acting Sheriff. News 19 has learned West was asked to report to the jail Monday evening. He told News 19 he was there to talk about how this process will work and he plans to visit the Limestone County Sheriff’s Office Tuesday morning.
Sheriff Blakely was taken into custody but not placed in handcuffs. He is in the Limestone Correctional Facility with no bond set.
The office of Governor Kay Ivey confirmed that there will be an appointment made to replace Sheriff Blakely. Officials will begin accepting resumes and conducting interviews in the coming weeks.
“Public officials must set the highest example of accountability, and no matter how long someone holds office they are not above the law,” said Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall. “Sheriff Blakely repeatedly swore an oath to enforce and obey the law during his 40 years in office, and he now knows the consequences of violating that oath. I want to thank the Limestone County jury for carefully reviewing all the facts of this case and reaching a just conclusion.”
Blakely faces possible sentences of two to 20 years for each of the felony convictions.
Blakely will be sentenced at a later date.