Autauga County Coroner indicted again

Attorney General Troy King announces indictment of Autauga County Coroner.  Below is the press release from the Attorney General's Office:

(MONTGOMERY)—Attorney General Troy King announced that a second indictment has been served that reinstates charges previously brought against Autauga County Coroner Billy Brown. Brown is charged with a felony ethics violation and first-degree theft from the Autauga County jail fund when he was formerly a jail warden. Willie Mack Brown III, known as Billy Brown, surrendered yesterday at the Autauga County Sheriff's Office.

Attorney General King's Office presented evidence to an Autauga County grand jury, resulting in Brown's indictment* on February 11. Specifically, the indictment charges that:

  • Brown intentionally used his official position as an Autauga County jail warden for the unlawful personal gain of himself or family members, by obtaining food, alcohol, tools, building supplies, cellular phones, grocery items, cigarettes, a lawn mower, home furnishings, and various other items, services and cash; and
  • Brown committed first-degree theft of more than $2,500 from the sheriff's office by obtaining the above items with jail funds.

"It is an extremely serious charge when a public official and law enforcement officer is accused of breaking the very laws he has sworn to uphold," said Attorney General King.  Attorney General King commended Assistant Attorney General Ben Baxley and Special Agent Jeff Chandler, who are handling the prosecution and investigation of this matter for his office.

The crimes charged in this indictment are the same as those in a previous indictment returned against Brown in November 2007.  The new indictment corrects a technical error that indentified Brown as a deputy sheriff rather than as jail warden at the time of the alleged crimes.

No further information about the investigation or about Brown's alleged crimes other than that stated in the indictment may be released at this time.

However, it is a matter of public record that Brown was cited for improper expenditures by the Examiners of Public Accounts in a special report on the Autauga County Metro Jail Fund, covering the period of September 1, 2004 through August 28, 2006, which was issued on March 16, 2007.  The Examiners' audit report notes charges against Brown totaling $27,981.62, and that "these charges resulted from unallowable disbursements made from the Metro Jail Fund including: checks written to 'Cash', debit card cash withdrawals, and a cashier check received from the official Metro Jail Fund bank account, as well as the purchase of items for personal use including alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, grocery items, cellular phones, clothing, jewelry, gasoline, gift cards, equipment and building supplies.  Of the charges reflected on Exhibit I, $3,616 was repaid by the employee when brought to his attention.  The remaining unpaid charges total $24,365.13."

 If convicted, Brown faces a maximum penalty of two to 20 years imprisonment and a fine of $10,000 for each of two counts, which both are class B felonies. Furthermore, Section 36-9-2 of the Code of Alabama states that when an officeholder is convicted of a felony, the office is vacated from the time of conviction. 

Note: *An indictment is merely an accusation. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.