Residents React to Byrd Sentencing

Reported by: Nick Patrick
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Updated: 3/11/2014 7:08 pm
Tuesday's sentencing marks an end to Mike Byrd's federal charges that could have put him behind bars for 20 years. News 25 spoke to some Jackson County residents who believe Byrd deserved some jail time. Bobby Rhodes, a resident of Jackson County, says, "I think that this is America. We are entitled to justice." Some residents like Rhodes feel justice was not served today when U.S. District Court Judge William Steele sentenced Byrd to house arrest and no jail time. Rhodes also says, "But I have my rights, I know. We all do, but when a police officer takes that away from anyone, any age at all, that’s just obstruction of justice and that should be jail time. I don't care if you have on an ankle bracelet, I want you in jail."

Other residents echoed Rhodes’ thoughts, saying that an ordinary citizen charged with obstruction of justice would not get the same treatment. Jeff Katzele, another Jackson County resident, says, "Well if you and I did something like that somewhere else, we would definitely be going to Sing Sing Federal Prison." Judge Steele said Tuesday that he read around 50 letters that supported Byrd, but the average Jackson County resident thinks the sentencing was a little light. Gage Adam, another resident, says, "I believe that they should get jail time no matter what their position is, be it a small office position or the mayor of the city."

Byrd still faces a state charge of intimidating a witness in Mississippi. Prosecutors are also seeking house arrest in that case. Katzele says letting Byrd walk was the wrong decision. He closes, "Just seems a little... not quite fair, yeah, not fair." Byrd will appear again in court for his state charges on Thursday.

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