Mike Blakely to serve sentence in nearby county

Mike Blakely
This booking photograph released by the Limestone Sheriff's Office shows Sheriff Mike Blakely following his arrest on theft and ethics charges on Aug. 22, 2019. Blakely is set to stand trial nearly two years after he was indicted. Jury selection is scheduled to begin Monday, July 12, 2021, for the Limestone County sheriff, who has continued to serve despite facing a dozen felony counts alleging he stole campaign donations, got interest-free loans and solicited money from employees. (Limestone County Sheriff's Office via AP)

A longtime Alabama sheriff removed from office after being convicted of theft and using his office for personal gain will serve time in a nearby county, a judge ruled.

The Decatur Daily reported that a judge ruled former Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakely will be allowed to serve his three-year sentence in Franklin County after the sheriff there agreed to the arrangement. The Limestone and Franklin county jails are located about 60 miles apart in northwest Alabama.

Blakely was held in the jail he once ran following his conviction last month, but Judge Pamela Baschab ruled that he would spend the bulk of his term in another county. Blakely is currently free on a $50,000 bond while appealing his conviction and sentence.

Blakely, 70, was convicted of taking no-interest loans from a jail fund that held prisoners’ money and of stealing $4,000 from his campaign account. He was in his 10th straight term at the time of his removal from office, making him Alabama’s longest-serving sheriff at the time.

Republished with the permission of the Associated Press.