St. Clair County judge to handle Acker case

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

St. Clair County Presiding Judge Jim Hill will handle the case of a former Alabaster teacher who has been charged with six counts of molesting young girls.

Hill

Alabama Chief Justice Charles Malone appointed Hill as an outside judge to handle Acker’s case after Shelby County Circuit Court judges Daniel Reeves, Bill Bostick, Hub Harrington and Sonny Conwill all recused themselves from handling the case.

Shelby County District Court judges Ron Jackson and Jim Kramer also recused themselves from handling the case, which required Malone to appoint an outside judge to handle the case.

Acker is being held in the Shelby County Jail on bonds totaling $745,000, and had been charged with six counts of sexual abuse after police said he allegedly admitted to molesting more than 20 girls during his teaching tenure in several Alabaster schools.

As of Feb. 8, Shelby County Circuit Court Supervisor Jill Smitherman said the case was still tentatively set to be heard in the Shelby County Courthouse, although Acker’s attorneys previously said they likely will seek to move the trial venue. As of Feb. 8, no hearing date had been set for Acker.

On Jan. 10, Pell City District Attorney Richard Minor was appointed to prosecute the case, a few days after Shelby County District Attorney Robby Owens asked to be recused from prosecuting Acker.

Acker is the son of Shelby County Commissioner Daniel Acker Sr.

Owens said he asked to be recused from the case because of his friendship with the elder Acker Sr. The Shelby County Commission funds Owens’ office.