Moultrie Observer

Local News

March 31, 2010

Byrd sentence on hold, but not abandoned

MOULTRIE — — MOULTRIE — A Moultrie man accused of shooting at a police officer and homeowner during a robbery attempt will receive more than the suspended sentence meted out this month in a plea arrangement.

Superior Court Judge James E. Hardy sentenced Jack Delane Byrd III on March 5 to a 10-year prison sentence suspended upon his attendance and successful completion of a drug treatment program.

That sentence was handed down upon Byrd’s guilty plea to a Jan. 13 burglary of the 26 Dogwood Circle residence of Bill Edwards.

Byrd was indicted on charges of burglary and two counts of theft by receiving stolen property in that case. The same indictment charged him with burglary, aggravated assault on a police officer and aggravated assault during the Jan. 13 burglary of the 16 Cherokee Road residence of Dr. Andrew Cordista.

In that incident Byrd, 25, is accused of firing a shot at Cordista and a Moultrie Police Department officer who were pursuing him. A second shot was fired as Byrd fled, police said at the time of Byrd’s arrest.

Although a plea was accepted in the Dogwood Circle aspect of the case, Assistant District Attorney Brian McDaniel said Tuesday that the second incident, which includes the most serious charges, is still active.

McDaniel said that a more accurate description of the arrangement is a temporary suspension in the initial plea.

“That may be a more appropriate way to describe it,” McDaniel said. “He did not get some sweetheart of a deal. He has not shot at a police officer and robbed a home and is going to rehab. He definitely did not shoot at a police officer and is not going to jail. That is absolutely not true.”

Byrd still faces prison time on the burglary for which he has already pleaded guilty, he said.

“He still has a prison sentence, he is simply being allowed to do this (rehab) first,” McDaniel said.

If Byrd successfully completes the terms of his rehabilitation, he will improve his situation in terms of sentencing on the remainder of the case against him, he said.

“Needless to say, if he flunks out I think the sentence will reflect him walking away from rehab,” McDaniel said. “If he succeeds the second sentence may reflect that success. Everything else in this case is on hold. We’re going to see what happens with him.”

Each of the aggravated assault charges carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Aggravated assault on a police officer carries a higher minimum prison sentence of five years, while the charge of aggravated assault has a minimum sentence of one year.

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