Former sheriff candidate sentenced on forgery charges

Updated: Jan 21


District Attorney Tripp Fitzner announced on Friday that a jury convicted a former candidate for the office of Emanuel County Sheriff, Billy Brantley, on forgery charges.

As a result, Superior Court Judge Robert S. Reeves sentenced Brantley to 15 years probation, subject to 170 to 180 days at the probation detention center.

Brantley specifically faced and was convicted on two counts first-degree forgery.

“First-degree forgery, to put it simply, is altering something other than a check. That’s the easiest way to explain it,” Fitzner said.

He went on to give background about the case.

“The indictment charged him with two counts of forgery in the first degree, which were a bill of sale from his father and altering the writing of ‘Mary Brantley,’ who I believe is his mother. He was convicted on those charges.”

According to the district attorney, both forgeries took place in June 2018.

Fitzner also explained the indictment included a solo count of falsely reporting a crime. This came as a result of information relayed by Brantley to David McVey, an investigator, back in November 2019. He was ultimately acquitted on that particular charge.

Assistant District Attorney Aaron Palmer prosecuted on behalf of the state, and Emanuel County Sheriff’s Office investigated the case. The Emanuel County tax commissioner was also involved as a witness as the forgeries dealt with vehicles Brantley’s dad allegedly sold him while sick, and the signatures on the documents didn’t match.

The indictment was returned by the grand jury during its January 2021 term almost a year ago.

Brantley, a 33-year-old of a Midville address, qualified for the sheriff’s race back in mid-2020, running on the Democratic ticket. He was beaten out in the primary by Allen Durden and Johnny James Smith despite running a campaign promising transparency, reformation and advancement of the county jail, and increasing response times, among other goals.

“We have an obligation to do our job without fear, favor, or affection,” Fitzner said. “That was the case here. He was treated just as anybody else would’ve been, although I do understand where the public’s interest in the case comes from.”

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