- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 23, 2014

PASCAGOULA, Miss. (AP) - Former Jackson County sheriff’s Lt. Ken McClenic pleaded guilty Tuesday to perjury.

McClenic entered the plea in Jackson County Circuit Court. No date has been set for his sentencing.

In January, a grand jury indicted McClenic, 51, on a felony charge of perjuring himself in a grand jury hearing against former Jackson County Sheriff Mike Byrd.

The Sun Herald reports (https://bit.ly/XW4Jpd ) Circuit Judge Michael Ward told both attorneys not to make statements to the media. Ward said the court will determine the sentence at a later date.

McClenic could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison and fined $10,000.

An indictment alleges McClenic lied to a grand jury hearing evidence against former Jackson County Sheriff Mike Byrd. McClenic’s testimony resulted in Byrd being indicted on a felony charge of intimidating an officer in the discharge of his duties and tampering with a witness.

The charges accused Byrd of pressuring McClenic to make an arrest in a murder so Byrd could say he had no unsolved murders in his campaign for re-election in 2007.

McClenic told the grand jury Byrd ordered him to sign an affidavit for the arrest of Robert McKee on a charge of murder though McClenic told the grand jury he did not believe McKee committed the crime.

In September, during a hearing in an unrelated case challenging McClenic’s credibility as a witness, McClenic backed off his testimony, saying then he believed he had obtained the affidavit to arrest McKee on the murder charge because McKee had confessed and provided details about the crime no one else had.

After McClenic changed his testimony, Circuit Judge Robert Krebs ordered all of McClenic’s grand jury testimony in July, along with any exhibits and McClenic’s testimony at the hearing in September, turned over to the attorney general’s office to investigate.

After the indictment, McClenic was fired from the sheriff’s office where he had worked as a deputy since 1985.

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Information from: The Sun Herald, https://www.sunherald.com

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