You Won Leon. Congratulations
Sore looser Ana FRanklin
Judge throws out charges against former Morgan warden
· By Eric Fleischauer Metro Editor
· Apr 25, 2018
Eighteen months after Morgan County Sheriff Ana Franklin fired him as warden and seven months after he was arrested on a misdemeanor charge, Leon Bradley and his family listened Tuesday as a judge dismissed all charges.
The judge who dismissed the charges, Morgan County Circuit Judge Glenn Thompson, was also the one who issued a search warrant against Bradley in October 2016. After hearing two days of testimony and arguments that Franklin and her deputies misled him, Thompson suppressed evidence arising from the warrant.
“I’m just thankful for God,” Bradley said after the ruling. “He knew the truth and he allowed it to come out. … I’ll continue to pray for Sheriff Franklin. I’m a sinner and she’s a sinner. That makes me no different than her. I’ll pray for her, and I’ll also pray for God’s justice.”
Bradley’s lawyers, Nick Heatherly and Robert Tuten, argued his prosecution was motivated by Franklin’s frustration with a blog published by Glenda Lockhart of Falkville. Bradley allegedly forwarded departmental emails to his home email address, and then used his personal account to forward them to Lockhart. The blog had been harshly critical of Franklin and her top deputies for years, and allegedly posted images of internal Sheriff's Office documents.
The first witness Tuesday was Daniel Lockhart, the blogger’s grandson, dressed in his U.S. Army uniform. Information he collected from his grandmother formed the basis of warrants obtained by the Sheriff’s Office for the search of Bradley’s home and Glenda Lockhart’s business.
Daniel Lockhart said he worked with one of Franklin’s deputies, Sgt. Blake Robinson, at the Falkville Volunteer Fire Department. He said he had talked with Robinson several times about the blog, which often mentioned Robinson, and that the sergeant proposed in June or July 2016 that the Sheriff’s Office pay Daniel Lockhart $1,000 to collect information from his grandmother about which Sheriff’s Office employees were leaking information to the blog. Robinson later texted him with instructions that he should begin the process, Lockhart said.
He testified he had obtained some information from his grandmother’s business before a Sept. 28, 2016, meeting with Franklin, Robinson, Lt. Robert “Bones” Wilson and the sheriff’s lawyer, Barney Lovelace.
After Lovelace left the meeting, Lockhart testified, Franklin paid him $300. She also threatened him with arrest, he said, if he divulged to anyone that he was working with the Sheriff’s Office or if he failed to collect information implicating his grandmother. Wilson followed that by saying he could not get into the Army if he had felony charges against him, Lockhart testified.
At the meeting, Lockhart testified, he advised Franklin that he was struggling to get a “password to her email account, blog account and Facebook account.” Also during the meeting, he said, Franklin instructed Justin Powell, an employee of the Sheriff’s Office with computer expertise, to assist him in the investigation.
Powell met with Lockhart at the Falkville Volunteer Fire Department and provided him with software designed to covertly record key strokes entered on a computer, Lockhart testified, so he could get the passwords. Powell on Friday acknowledged this.
Lockhart said he lied to his grandmother to obtain a key to her business and entered it Sept. 30, 2016, while Robinson stayed outside to alert him if anyone approached. He said he had to call Powell while he was in the building to get help with installing the keylogger. Daniel Lockhart testified he installed another keylogger on his grandmother’s home computer.
Franklin and Robinson both testified Friday they knew nothing about the keylogger until more than a month after Lockhart said he installed it. Lockhart testified Tuesday that he did not recall the keylogger being mentioned in front of Franklin, but that Robinson and Powell knew about it. Robinson took photos of Lockhart, introduced as exhibits, while he was in his grandmother’s business.
Daniel Lockhart said he had no right to enter his grandmother’s business after hours or to access her computer files, and that Franklin and her deputies knew this.