Prosecutors ask for theft charges against former Creola police chief to be dropped

Published: May. 22, 2023 at 1:41 PM CDT
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MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - Prosecutors have asked that theft charges against Jackson, Alabama, Police Chief Jerry Taylor be dropped.

Mobile County Assistant District Attorney Clay Rossi asked Judge Charles Graddick to dismiss the case, involving allegations stemming from Taylor’s tenure as police chief in Creola. Rossi wrote that after “additional investigation,” the District Attorney’s Office had decided that the charges should be dropped “in the interests of justice.”

Prosecutors alleged in 2019 that Taylor and former City Clerk Kim Green padded their paychecks.

“The investigation revealed both Green and Taylor received numerous unexplained checks from Creola during times that were not consistent with scheduled pay periods or typical reimbursement procedures,” then-District Attorney Ashley Rich said at the time.

Current District Attorney Keith Blackwood told FOX10 News that prosecutors found evidence of “dubious bookkeeping” but concluded that Taylor was not illegally receiving overtime pay.

“We found that the time that he was paid for, he actually worked,” he said. “It was the way in which it was paid that sort of raised some red flags, because the schedule of payment was unusual. However, we did find that he actually worked those hours and, thus, there was no criminal activity involved.”

Taylor’s lawyer, Stewart Hanley, said presented prosecutors with information outlining what he expected the evidence to be.

“Very pleased. … Regardless of why they did it, I think they made the right choice,” he told FOX10 News.

Green pleaded guilty in January to first-degree theft and using her position for personal gain. A judge sentenced her to a 2½-year suspended sentence and two years of probation. She also pleaded guilty to charges of embezzling money from both Creola and Prichard, where she later worked. A federal judge sentenced her in 2021 to a year and a day in prison in that case.

Updated at 5;10 p.m. with comments from District Attorney Keith Blackwood and defense attorney Stewart Hanley.