SOUTHAVEN, MS - Southaven Mayor Greg Davis is free on bond after being arrested and indicted. Davis is charged with embezzlement and false pretense by a DeSoto County grand jury.
The mayor's arrest has everyone talking from the state auditor to attorneys on both sides and Southaven citizens.
Until now the focus of the investigation into Davis has been on receipts and the misuse of city cash and credit cards on food, travel and hotels. Tuesday's indictment charges Davis with writing a city check on his personal behalf, buying city gas for his personal use and illegally purchasing a city leased SUV.
"It's a shock to anyone to be indicted," says Davis' lawyer Steve Farese. "He's shocked. He's dismayed. But he feels confident we can mount a good defense to these claims."
Davis voluntarily turned himself into DeSoto jail Tuesday morning. The mayor is facing three felony criminal charges.
Two counts accuse Davis of embezzling money from the city. The first is from February 2009 when Davis bought an SUV the city was leasing.
"The second count involves obtaining city gas in a private vehicle then having the city reimburse him for gas," says district attorney John Champion.
The indictment says that happened from February 2009 to January 2010.
The third charge deals with a $1000 check Davis wrote to pay BullyBloc - a political action committee affiliated with MS State alumni.
"You can only do so much for so long," says resident Shuana Hughes. "After a while justice will, the right thing will come out on top."
Davis' lawyer says the mayor will plead not guilty, and they'll fight the charges.
"The indictment is just an overview of charges. When you're talking about dates between February 2009 and January 2010 that gives us no indication of how many times they're alleging he put gas in his personal vehicle. Until we know that it is difficult for us to rebut those charges."
They carry a combined maximum fine of $25,000 and 35 years in jail.
"For somebody like Mr. Davis, I wouldn't expect him to be looking at any time close to those maximums," Farese says.
Southaven's board of aldermen meeting was Tuesday night. Davis did not attend. His lawyer says they felt his presence would be a distraction from city business.
His next court date will be in the new year.