The 91-year-old mayor in the southern US state of Alabama has avoided the prospect of celebrating her centennial behind bars after a judge handed her a suspended sentence for stealing from the town budget.
Mary Hixon, who served as mayor of River Falls, Alabama, for more than three decades, was sentenced to ten-years in prison Thursday after admitting that she stole $201,000 of taxpayer funds.
But in consideration of the mayor’s advanced age, Circuit Judge Ashley McKathan suspended the sentence and instead slapped her with five-years of probation, local media reported.
Hixon’s arrest followed an investigation sparked by a report in a local newspaper, the Andulasia Star News, showing that Hixon sold town property, without approval from the local government, to a man she lived with.
As part of her plea, Hixon has agreed to cooperate with the investigation into other individuals suspected in the misappropriation of town funds, local media reported.
"She used town monies to benefit either herself or her family or people she had a business association with, and she did so illegally and without the proper authority of the town itself," county prosecutor Walt Merrell told CBS-8 television.