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More delays in Spivey case

"Not very fruitful."

That's how Pike County District Attorney Gary McAliley described the 9 a.m. reading of the docket Wednesday morning.

The reason for the critical judgment from the former judge is slow progress in the prosecution of the case of Timothy Dwayne Spivey, the Pike County man accused of 131 counts of theft of air conditioning and heating units from the Pike County School System.

Spivey, who is the former maintenance supervisor for the county schools, has pled "not guilty" to a grand jury's Feb.17 indictment on the felony charges.

According to McAliley, Spivey's attorney, George Beck, recently suffered a heart attack and underwent triple bypass surgery. Beck, who is partnered with Gregory Biggs in a Montgomery law firm, was scheduled to handle the Spivey case, but was sidelined by the health problems. Phone calls to the firm were not returned.

On Feb. 22, McAliley sent a letter to Beck and Biggs offering to settle the case, but said he had not heard back formally from the attorneys.

"At the docket reading this morning, the case was continued until the next term, but we should know something by May 6, when I have a meeting scheduled to see if we can even begin to get close on a settlement," he said.

According to McAliley, Biggs indicated Wednesday that the defense would attempt to work out a deal of some sort. In his letter, McAliley wrote that "you will find me eager to work toward an appropriate and speedy case disposition."

Whether that settlement will involve jail time remains to be seen, but McAliley's letter said that "a tremendously long period of executed incarceration should not be required," provided certain requirements were met by Spivey. Among the stipulations: full restitution, a public apology and assistance provided to the state in identifying and bringing to justice and other culpable parties.

"I'll have to talk to them and see how much money they can raise to give back to the schools," McAliley said of the upcoming meeting.

Two members of the Pike County Board of Education said they had not heard about McAliley's proposed deal.

"I have not heard anything about it," said board member Linda Steed. "I had not heard anything on the DA's offer, so I would rather read the whole thing and know before I made any public statement."

Still, she said that the Spivey case should be taken seriously.

"We could have used that money in our school system," she said. "He didn't just deprive the schoolchildren, but we as taxpayers. I don't feel like a little slap on the hand is OK."

The Rev. Herbert Reynolds said the board had not discussed the Spivey matter lately, but expected to speak about it next week

"We have not gone into our meeting to discuss that. We will discuss on Monday at the work session," he said. "I will be more informed about it at that time."

Steed said the upcoming work session is not devoted to the Spivey case.

"The Monday work session is supposed to be on the renovation work at the various schools," but she said other things could be brought up at the meeting.

Other board members were not available for comment.

Law enforcement officials believe the thefts occurred over several years and involved units purchased and charged to the county schools and sold privately by Spivey to buyers through City Electric Company. Spivey and his brother Johndi, were placed on administrative leave and Spivey resigned in July. Johndi has not been charged.

In his letter to Spivey's attorneys, McAliley said that the schoolchildren were not the only victims of the air conditioner thefts.

"In discussing restitution, please also be aware that various heating and air conditioning business persons in the Pike County community feel they are also victims of your client's alleged criminal misconduct. They contend they lost business and revenues they would have had due to your client's 'ability to obtain and sell heating and cooling systems at prices less than what the units could have been purchased at wholesale prices.' . . . In other words, there is more restitution due than simply that owed to Pike County, Alabama's public school children," McAliley wrote.