A mistrial was declared Thursday in the trial of former Arcade Mayor Joe Sikes after a jury deliberated for approximately 10 hours. Sikes was on trial on charges that he made terroristic threats against Arcade officials in 2005.
After the hearing, prosecutor Ashley Wright of Augusta said she would retry the case. Presiding Judge John Ott of the Alcovy Judicial District mentioned March 23 as a possible trial week.
Sikes faces charges related to a now-closed oil company he owned in the town and to allegations he made terroristic threats against Arcade city officials when they revoked his business license after an explosion at the facility killed a worker.
The hearing this week in Jackson County Superior Court brought together some of Jackson County’s most controversial figures from the past few years.
Among those testifying in the matter were former Piedmont Judicial Circuit District Attorney Tim Madison, who is currently in jail after being convicted of theft charges, and former Arcade police chief Dennis Bell, who was forced out of his position by city leaders last year.
In a partial victory for Sikes early in the week, Judge John Ott issued a directed verdict of “not guilty” on Tuesday on six of the 12 charges facing Sikes. Sikes was found not guilty on three counts of transporting hazardous waste without the proper permit and not guilty on three counts of transporting hazardous waste to an unpermitted facility.
The charges that received the most focus were allegations that Sikes made threats against Arcade officials after the city council revoked his business license in 2005. Several Arcade officials testified early in the week that Sikes' comments, which were taped by Bell at Madison's direction, had them scared for their lives.
Among those who were character witnesses for Sikes was Jackson County Sheriff Stan Evans.
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