TUSCUMBIA — The criminal case against a Muscle Shoals police officer who was fired for killing a deer on federal property while on duty has been postponed.
Tuscumbia attorney Billy Underwood, who is representing former Muscle Shoals police officer Greg Scoggins, said the criminal case has been delayed until April.
The hearing, before Colbert County District Judge Chad Coker, was scheduled for Tuesday.
Franklin County Assistant District Attorney Doug Evans, who has been assigned as special prosecutor for the case, asked for the postponement.
Evans was assigned the case because there was a conflict of interest with the Colbert County District Attorney’s Office.
Scoggins is accused of shooting and killing a deer Dec. 23 on Tennessee Valley Authority property.
After an investigation into the shooting by the Alabama Department of Conservation Game and Fish Division, Scoggins, 47, was charged with reckless endangerment, hunting without a permit and hunting with the aid of a motor vehicle.
Muscle Shoals Police Chief Robert Evans terminated Scoggins on Dec. 27. Mayor David Bradford and the Muscle Shoals Civil Service Board upheld the termination.
Underwood and Florence attorney Johnnie Franks, who also is representing Scoggins, have appealed the termination to the Colbert County Circuit Court. It is scheduled to be heard May 6.
According to testimony during the Civil Service Board termination hearing, Scoggins told police he went onto TVA’s research farm and used his personal rifle to shoot and kill the deer. He took blame for what happened and said he was sorry for his actions.
Underwood said his client didn’t do anything that warrants the charges.
“The punishment didn’t represent the crime,” he said. “It’s like a man getting caught with two pieces of marijuana cigarettes and getting the death penalty.”
Underwood said Friday he was disappointed the criminal case was postponed.
“We were ready to go to trial,” Underwood said.
He said he objected to the postponement.
“I was willing to allow the testimony of the officer who is out of the country to be put into evidence without him being present and include a statement signed by my client,” Underwood said. “But Judge Coker ruled, and we will live with it.”
Tom Smith can be reached at 256-740-5757 or tom.smith@TimesDaily.com.