Trial date set for former Dodge sheriff

Jury selection in the trial of former Dodge County Sheriff Lawton Douglas is scheduled to begin March 23 in Dublin, according to federal court records.

Last year, Douglas and two co-defendants were charged in connection with a federal vote-buying and conspiracy case.

Douglas, 37, was indicted on two counts of conspiracy and four counts of vote buying. Olin Norman “Bobo” Gibson, 43, of Helena, also was indicted on all six counts, while a third defendant, Thedy Deneen McLeod, also 43, was charged with two counts of conspiracy.

In October, all three pleaded not guilty to charges against them.

In court last year, U.S. Magistrate Judge Leon Barfield summarized the government’s allegations, saying that Douglas, Gibson and McLeod conspired to “buy votes and have persons vote more than once” in the July primary and August runoff in the 2004 sheriff’s election.

In 2004, Douglas, a former Helena police chief and Dodge County commission chairman, defeated former Eastman police Sgt. Dan Wilcox in a runoff to unseat incumbent Sheriff Ed Graham. There were no Republican challengers.

Wilcox, who was bidding to become Dodge County’s first black sheriff, had finished as the top vote-getter in the primary.

Douglas lost his bid for re-election in 2008.