Ex-Macomb sheriff Hackel is free today
April 24, 2003
BY ALEXA CAPELOTO
Today marks the end of William Hackel's three years as a prisoner, and the
beginning of his return to freedom following his rape conviction in 2000.
The former Macomb County sheriff is expected to leave the Charles Egeler
Reception and Guidance Center in Jackson at 8 a.m. after being granted his
first possible parole date last month.
He was transferred to the center in late March from a Kentucky federal
prison in preparation for his release.
His wife and mother will be in Jackson to greet him and drive him home to
Macomb County, said son and current Macomb County Sheriff Mark Hackel. He
said his father's immediate focus is on reconnecting with family.
"He just wants to be with his wife and my grandmother," Mark Hackel said
Wednesday. "I'll try to see him as soon as possible. He's my father and I
definitely want to spend time with him."
Even as the ex-sheriff, 61, readjusts to life outside of prison, he plans to
continue efforts to clear his name. Birmingham attorney and longtime friend
Terence Page said he has asked the Michigan Supreme Court to review an
appellate court's refusal to reverse Hackel's conviction.
The court has not issued a decision.
Meanwhile, Hackel can expect to return to countless friends and supporters
who say they still believe he did not rape a 25-year-old female acquaintance
at the Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort in Mt. Pleasant in October 1999.
Several of them are collaborating on a Friends of Bill Hackel fund-raiser,
scheduled for June 9 at CJ Barrymore's in Clinton Township. Jerry Medley, a
friend of Hackel's for almost 50 years, said he expects 700 to 1,000 people,
as well as the guest of honor, to attend.
"We had an event two years ago and there were police chiefs, police
officers, judges -- all friends of Bill Hackel," he said. Tickets for the
June event cost $25.
Hackel is no longer in the custody of the Michigan Department of
Corrections, but he is still under the eye of the law. His two-year parole
period requires him to register as a sex offender and to check in regularly
with a parole agent.
In addition, he is required to complete sex offender treatment and is
prohibited from contacting the victim or possessing any items related to a
law enforcement agency.
Hackel served as county sheriff for 24 years until he was convicted in April
2000 of two counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct and sentenced to
3 to 15 years in prison. The crime shocked community members who said they
considered him a trusted leader who cared more about justice than power.
"I'm sure it's not going to be easy" readjusting to life after
incarceration, Medley said. "But knowing the person that he is, he'll get
Contact ALEXA CAPELOTO at 586-469-9117 or cape...@freepress.com.
This was your desire. And here I am now, always to be with you
as a worst nightmare. Because I will hold YOU to the contract of
your choice, which you coerced me to sign, but unwilling to keep.