Carbon Hill mayor accused of sex crimes has bonded out of jail

James Richardson (center) at his bond hearing. Source: Alan Collins/WBRC
James Richardson (center) at his bond hearing. Source: Alan Collins/WBRC

JASPER, AL (WBRC) - FOX6 News has confirmed that a Walker County public official accused of sex crimes has bonded out of jail.

Carbon Hill Mayor James Richardson was arrested last week for four counts of sexual abuse in the first degree, four counts of custodial sexual misconduct, two counts of harassment and one count of soliciting a prostitute.

His bond was set at $250,000, which attorney J. Kenneth Guin, Jr. argues that the bond is "in excess of maximum bonds possible for such alleged offenses."

In his motion, Guin says that the combined bail is "two times higher than the maximum amount of bail recommended by the bail schedule." Guin adds that Richardson is a person of limited means and is not a flight risk, so the high bail is almost equal to no bail for his client.

Walker County Judge Doug Farris refused to lower the $250,000 cash bond but changed it to a property bond. Guin says he already has committments from Richardson's supporters to post the property bond so it is likely Richardson will bond out in the next few days.

Judge Farris did set some restrictions for Richardson once he is released on bond. He cannot go to city hall or the city jail, have any contact with victims or witnesses, and not interfere with the duty of law enforcement during this case.

Guin says Richardson will continue his duties as mayor but set his office up at the community center. He also expects Richardson to reside over the next city council meeting.

This was one issue Carbon Hill residents wanted cleared up Thursday evening at the first council meeting since Richardson's arrest. However, they left with no answers after Mayor Pro Tem Terry Mason adjourned the council meeting as soon as it had begun.

Mason also tried to bar media from bringing cameras into the meeting, which violates the state's open meeting act. Residents were also frustrated because an agenda was never made available.

Guin repeated to FOX6 News that he feels Richardson's arrest is politically motivated.

We'll have much more on this story at 5, 6, 9 and 10.

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