Former LCS administrator sentenced in drug trafficking case

Published: Feb. 21, 2017 at 8:02 PM EST
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UPDATE: Alicia Turner

April 12, 2017

APALACHICOLA, Fla. (WCTV) -- A former Leon County School administrator, convicted of drug trafficking, is now headed to prison. Paul Byrd was an assistant school superintendent in Leon County. He was arrested in Franklin County in 2014, accused of trafficking cocaine. In February, a jury found him guilty.

Paul Byrd seemed to have taken a sigh of relief, as well as some of the family and friends that were in the courtroom to support him, That could be because he was given the minimum sentence of three years, and a more than $50,000 fine, as opposed to the maximum sentence of 30 years that his charges could carry. Just before Byrd’s sentencing the defense attorney filed a motion for a retrial. That was denied by Judge Lewis. After the sentencing, a motion was filed for Byrd to be released on bond, pending an appeal with an appellate court.

"The appeals attorney will look at the issues and sift through them. It’s basically to see whether or not the legal issues were preserved, and whether or not the right calls were made, We'll just have to see. It's for other people to decide at this point," said Don Pumphrey, Defense Attorney.

If Byrd doesn’t win that appeal, he will still have to serve out the rest of his sentence. Right now he is out on bond. Conditions of his release include random drug test, and not being able to leave the country.

By: WCTV Eyewitness News

April 12, 2017

APALACHICOLA, Fla. (WCTV) -- Former Leon County Schools administrator Paul Byrd has been sentenced in a cocaine trafficking case.

Byrd was found guilty back in February of trafficking a controlled substance and possession of drugs and paraphernalia.

Wednesday, Byrd was sentenced to three years in prison and ordered to pay a $50,520 fine.

By: Erin Lisch

February 23, 2017

APALACHICOLA, Fla. (WCTV) -- Guilty on all counts; that verdict coming down Thursday night for former Leon County Schools Administrator Paul Byrd.

It was up to 6 jurors to decide the fate of Paul Byrd.

In closing arguments, assistant state attorney in Franklin County, Jarred Patterson, said to jurors, "That you're not to decide this case, because you feel sorry for somebody."

In the end, the evidence painting a clear enough picture.

"Officer Shelley even told you that the cocaine was in a small black zipper pouch," said Patterson.

The state showed evidence in court of the cocaine and hydromorphone found in Byrd's truck, leading to his arrest in 2014.

"That mixture of cocaine weighed 28 grams or more," said Patterson showing a piece of evidence.

That amount, enough to be charged with trafficking.

After five witnesses and closing arguments, the jury deliberated for nearly 2 hours.

The jury found Byrd guilty on all counts, convicting him of trafficking a controlled substance, possession of drugs and paraphernalia.

Byrd’s attorney, Don Pumphrey, says he respects the jury's decision.

"In any event we'd prefer them to go with our theory and they didn't and that's just the way it is," Pumphrey says.

This, after efforts by Byrd's lawyers to get the case dismissed earlier this week.

The state says they're pleased it's over, after the years it took.

"There's been a lot of maneuvering going on related to motions to suppress and it's good to finally have closure," said Patterson.

"It's not necessarily the end, sometimes it's just the beginning," said Pumphrey.

Sentencing for Byrd is set for March 15th.

Byrd was booked into the Franklin County Jail without bond.

By: WCTV Eyewitness News

February 23, 2017

APALACHICOLA, Fla. (WCTV) -- Paul Byrd, a former Leon County Schools administrator, has been found guilty on all counts of cocaine trafficking.

WCTV Eyewitness News reporter Erin Lisch tweeted out the verdict from the courtroom on Thursday.

Byrd was accused of cocaine trafficking after police say they found cocaine in Byrd's vehicle during a traffic stop for a seat belt violation in 2014.

On Tuesday, Byrd had asked the judge to remove the charges and throw out the evidence against him. Byrd's attorneys contended that the stop was not legal and Byrd was wearing his seat belt. After more than four hours of deliberation, the judge ruled against Byrd.

By: WCTV Eyewitness News

February 23, 2017

APALACHICOLA, Fla. (WCTV) -- Jury deliberations are underway in the trial of a former Leon County Schools administrator accused of cocaine trafficking.

Paul Byrd was arrested after deputies say they found cocaine in his vehicle during a traffic stop in Franklin County back in 2014.

The trial began Thursday morning and the jury began deliberating just after 5 p.m.

We will keep you posted on a verdict.

By: Erin Lisch

February 21, 2017

APALACHICOLA, Fla. (WCTV) -- A trial is moving forward for a former Leon County Schools administrator accused of cocaine trafficking.

Paul Byrd testified in court on Tuesday asking the judge to toss out charges and evidence against him.

Byrd was pulled over for a traffic violation for not wearing his seat belt in Franklin County in 2014.

Deputies testified they stopped Byrd near a fake check-point and found drugs in his car.

Byrd's attorneys claim it wasn't a legal stop and say Byrd had his seat belt on.

After more than four hours and five witnesses taking the stand, the judge ruled against Byrd.

His trial will start Thursday.