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Former Limestone Co. jail employee testifies Sheriff Mike Blakely took money from inmates

The employee testified the sheriff would give her IOUs when he borrowed money.

Posted: Jul 20, 2021 5:21 PM
Updated: Jul 20, 2021 7:11 PM

A former Limestone County jail employee testified in court Tuesday saying Sheriff Mike Blakely would regularly ask her to borrow money from inmates.

The safe at jail usually contained anywhere from $3,000 to $12,000 cash depending on the number of inmates and the money in their accounts.

Ramona Robinson says that money belonged to the inmates not the county.

She testified that Blakely would take the cash and leave IOUs that he would pay back at a later time. As to why he needed the money, Robinson said "I didn't ask. He didn't tell."

In a few instances, Robinson made a wire transfer to a casino in Las Vegas, where Blakely was for a work related conference. The defense argued that Blakely had driven to Vegas and was running low on money he was given to cover the costs before returning back to Alabama.

His attorneys add that no money was missing, and Blakely paid back every cent he borrowed.

A state auditor also found no missing money from the jail. Prosecutors say the auditor would not be able to find any missing money because the quick book records would not show the money borrowed.

Robinson said the auditor did check the safe and saw the IOUs. That auditor told her that was "a big no, no," according to Robinson.

Prosecutors also brought up the checks used to pay back the IOUs. Robinson says Blakely would ask her to hold them for a while before she could cash them out.

An investigator with the state reviewed the checks and Blakely's personal accounts. He found that there were several instances where the checks would have put Blakely's account in the negative if they were cashed out when they written out.

That investigator found 19 checks that were held and added up to $29,050 dollars! However, he says there were more checks written.

Robinson says she stopped working for the jail after being offered a better opportunity. When asked on whether she left because of the checks, she said yes and no. She couldn't further elaborate, but said, "I didn't like it."

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