0711 gayla white

Gayla McMullen White

An attorney for a Dothan Planning Commission member facing theft charges filed report with the court that shows handwriting comparisons involving the case don’t match that of his client.

Gayla White, 51, of Dothan, is charged with two counts of first-degree theft of property, accused of stealing event deposits while employed with Windmill Station, a local event venue, in July 2018.

Attorney Billy Joe Sheffield stated in his notice that he received the report for the handwriting comparisons concerning his client; and the report states his client is not the individual who wrote the documents, but indicates the individual who may have written the document. Sheffield also stated the expert would testify his findings and conclusion of his report.

Police claim some of the Windmill clients’ deposits to hold events there did not get forwarded to the venue’s owner.

Sheffield maintains that the charges stem from a disagreement between White and Windmill Station owner Eddie Donaldson. The attorney claims the owner intentionally made up the allegations against his client, saying Donaldson was upset by White’s request for tax information and her intent to leave her job.

In testimony during White’s preliminary hearing, Donaldson said he was not upset with White for leaving, and that he was unaware of the discrepancies until a family member or friend stopped by the venue asking questions about an upcoming wedding scheduled for June 22 and 23.

A grand jury indicted White on the theft charges, and on Jan. 2, Sheffield entered a plea of not guilty for his client, waiving a Jan. 9 arraignment.

White’s trial is scheduled for Sept. 23.

First-degree theft of property is a Class B felony and occurs when the value of the property involved exceeds $2,500. The potential punishment is two to 20 years in prison.

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