ABERDEEN – Seventeen letters are on file asking a federal judge to show leniency when he sentences William T. “Tommy” Tacker on Monday.
A jury convicted Tacker in February on 10 counts that he conspired and defrauded the U.S. Department of Agriculture out of $2.8 million in a biofuels subsidy program.
He faces up to 50 years in prison.
Many of the letters insist Tacker of Okolona is not guilty.
Perhaps the strongest letter to Senior U.S. District Judge Glen H. Davidson is from Janey Tyner of Martin, Tenn., one of the original incorporators of the Nettleton biodiesel company Tacker established in 2006.
Tyner was in the Aberdeen courtroom for much of Tacker’s three-day trial.
She terms her letter “my unheard testimony.”
In it, she tells the judge she’s convinced their third partner, then-attorney Max Speight, “recognized Tommy’s vulnerabilities” as an “opportunity to take advantage” of Tacker’s confessions that a 1996 construction accident had left him unable to do mathematics problems.
Speight, who spent time in prison and was disbarred for stealing $1 million from clients, was the prosecution’s key witness against Tacker.
Tyner wrote that when she listened to Speight “twist the truth and evade telling the whole truth, I felt physically sick.”
Speight was indicted with Tacker in March 2009, but shortly before their trial pleaded guilty to one count. He has not been sentenced.
All the letters ask Davidson for leniency.
Many of the writers say they have known Tacker and his family for many years, and they attest to his “numerous acts of kindness.”
Wayne Osborn of the Egypt community in Chickasaw County wrote that he believes Tacker “got in with the wrong crowd.”
Several others blame Speight for the legal problems.
In asking for mercy for Tacker, Okolona’s Ward 1 Councilman Kenneth McVay said, “Tommy is 56 years of age and a long prison sentence will be a lifetime for him.”
Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal