A trial date is still scheduled for a former Hanceville city employee charged with theft last year — despite the city council’s February request to have the case dismissed.

The Hanceville City Council passed a resolution in late February requesting District Attorney Wilson Blaylock drop all charges against Darlene Coker, who was indicted on two counts of theft of property in the first degree last year. Only council member Charles Wilson voted against the resolution.

“The council thought it was just best to just close that chapter and move on,” Nail said.

According to records from the Cullman County Circuit Court, Coker’s trial is scheduled for the May 18 court docket. The records indicate the trial date was continued from March 16 because the principal witnesses were unable to attend.

Though the trial is still scheduled, Blaylock has not made an official statement about whether he has denied the city council’s request outright or if he is still considering it. Blaylock could not be reached for comment by deadline of this article.

“We haven’t heard anything about it,” Nail said.

Coker’s defense attorney, Billy Jackson, said he also has not received a comment from Blaylock about the request.

“He hasn’t said one way or the other,” Jackson said.

Nail noted he has no plans to insist Blaylock drop the charges.

“He can do what he thinks is best,” Nail said. “I’m not going to go up there and try to pressure him into anything. If he wants to go with it, that’s fine.”

The charges against Coker stemmed from her alleged failure to pay an $18,860.50 fine the Alabama Department of Examiners of Public Accounts levied against her in July 2008.

According to the department’s July 25 audit of Hanceville’s Municipal Court financial records from Oct. 1, 2005 to Sept. 30, 2007, Coker was fined due to discrepancies found between amounts contained on written court receipts and the amounts entered into the city Cash Receipts Journal while she was court magistrate.

In comments for a previous story, Nail said that after the fine was levied, Coker paid the $18,860.50 back to the city and agreed to resign from her position. He said the previous administration pursued criminal charges against Coker, even after they told her that if she met both of those requirements, she would not face prosecution.

Theft of property in the first degree is a Class B felony, punishable by up to 20 years in prison.



‰ Patrick McCreless can be reached by e-mail at patrickm@cullmantimes.com or by telephone at 734-2131 ext. 270.

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