RICHMOND, Alabama (Reuters) – A former black Alabama sheriff who oversaw the brutal killing of a white county clerk has been indicted on charges of perjury, conspiracy and false statements.
In a court filing, prosecutors said on Wednesday that former sheriff Johnnie Allen, 58, told a federal grand jury in December that he never lied to federal agents about his role in the killings of Charles Evans and John Burbank.
He pleaded not guilty and was ordered held without bond.
Allen was the former head of the state’s Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation from 2013 to 2017 and oversaw the handling of inmates during a two-year period during which hundreds of inmates were sent to prison.
Federal prosecutors said that in June 2017, he was interviewed by a federal investigator about Evans’ death.
Prosecutors said he told the investigator that he had not seen Evans on the day of the killing.
He told investigators he had seen Evans but could not recall what time it was.
The charges came as prosecutors and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Alabama said they were seeking to charge Allen and the other defendants in connection with the murder of Burbank, a 62-year-old retired accountant from Birmingham.
The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, led by Special Agent in Charge David Hwang, and U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture, Karen Houghton, had been investigating the case for several months.
The U.D.A. said in a statement that it is “deeply troubled” by the indictment.
The case was brought by the U of A College Republicans, which said it was aware of the allegations but did not have any comment.
The defendants’ attorneys did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Burbank’s death came two weeks after he was killed by a pair of masked men at a nearby gas station in a racially charged case that drew international attention and spurred calls for an investigation by the Justice Department.
Allen and other officials in the department had declined to make the men in the video available for questioning.