The trial for Limestone Sheriff Mike Blakely is now set to begin this summer, records show.
Judge Pamela Baschab, who was selected to take over as presiding judge after Judge Pride Tompkins recused himself, has set the trial to start 9 a.m. July 12 following a virtual status conference Thursday. Baschab also set a final virtual hearing for pretrial motions 2 p.m. April 12.
Blakely's trial was initially set to begin a year ago but only got as far as selecting a jury before the pandemic began and all trials were placed on hold. Baschab said a jury questionnaire used for that selection process could be modified and reused for a new jury.
The original five-page questionnaire sought general information about potential jurors, including employment information, military history and experience with law enforcement. It also asked about hobbies and political affiliations.
Baschab ordered state attorneys to present their revised questionnaire for final approval by the court. All other pretrial motions must be filed by April 3.
About the case
Blakely, who was elected sheriff in 1982, pleaded not guilty to a 13-count indictment at a November 2019 arraignment. Two of the counts were later dismissed.
Of the remaining counts, four charge him with thefts from his campaign account, totaling $11,000; three are theft or ethics charges stemming from money taken from Limestone County funds; another charges him with soliciting $1,000 from an employee; and the final two charge him with using his position as sheriff to obtain interest-free loans, including from a safe that held money belonging to Limestone County Jail inmates.