PENSACOLA — The oft-delayed trial of former Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office employee Randall Holcombe is scheduled to get under way today in Pensacola.
“We’re prepared and ready to go forward and try the case,” State Attorney Bill Eddins said. “We do not expect it to be continued.”
Holcombe, the last member of Sheriff Charlie Morris’ scandal-ridden administration to be charged for his role in a bonus kickback scheme, faces racketeering and grand theft charges.
Holcombe earned a salary of $71,302 as Morris’ assistant director of administrative services.
Auditors who pored over the sheriff’s office books after the FBI arrested Morris in February 2009 reported that Holcombe received $92,973 in bonuses from the sheriff and returned $18,000 of it.
Eddins said at the time of Holcombe’s arrest that the grand theft charges stemmed from Holcombe’s “involvement in taking kickbacks of almost $100,000 and the improper use of inmates and equipment.”
Former coworkers have told authorities that Holcombe used inmates to work on personal projects for him and to assist Morris’ wife, Barbara, at her estate sales business.
Holcombe was arrested Nov. 18, 2010. He was the seventh person arrested in the scandal.
His case has been continued eight times. The last continuance was granted in June after Holcombe suffered a heart attack.
Eddins said he expects the trial to last about a week. Holcombe’s attorney, Wanda Clapp, did not respond Friday to a phone call seeking comment.
Morris was arrested in Las Vegas on Feb. 27, 2009 and charged with fraud, theft and money laundering.
The FBI also arrested Teresa Adams, Morris’ administrative assistant, the same day at the sheriff’s office.
Morris is serving a 71-month sentence in a federal prison in Arkansas. Adams has completed her three-year federal sentence.
Morris and Adams have pleaded no contest to state charges of racketeering and theft. They will be sentenced following Holcombe’s trial.
The state attorney’s office also brought charges against Morris’ chief deputy, Michael Coup, chief of staff Sabra Thornton, finance director Sandra Norris and assistant information technology director David Yacks.
Thornton was convicted of grand theft, but the conviction was overturned on appeal.
Coup, Norris and Yacks were convicted of racketeering and theft, and were sentenced to four years in prison.
They remain free while their convictions are appealed.
Contact Daily News Staff Writer Tom McLaughlin at 850-315-4435 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @TomMnwfdn.