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Will Dismukes’ sisters urge judge not to consider father’s suicide as mitigating factor

“Don’t allow him to use his death that he helped induce to again avoid responsibility for his actions,” Dismukes’ sister wrote.

An arrest warrant was issued for Alabama State Rep. Will Dismukes, R-Prattville, in August 2020 for felony theft from a business where he worked.
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Former state Rep. Will Dismukes of Prattville will be sentenced Monday on a conviction of first-degree theft of property and is facing the prospect of up to 20 years in state prison.

The sentencing trial comes three months after his April 14 conviction on the charge, including a jury finding Dismukes guilty of two aggravating factors that give Judge Brooke Reid the discretion to sentence him up to the maximum penalty for the crime instead of being subjected to Alabama’s presumptive sentencing guidelines.

The sentencing trial was delayed in part because of the suicide of Bill Dismukes, Will Dismukes’ father, the day after the conviction.

But a letter sent to Judge Reid by Will Dismukes’ sister Nikki Brothers, and endorsed by his other two sisters, urges the judge not to consider their father’s suicide as a mitigating factor when deciding on a sentence.

“My sisters and I are writing this letter to you to ensure that Will doesn’t use our father’s death as a mitigating circumstance,” Brothers wrote in the letter, which was filed on June 29. “He used our father to steal money and then blamed him in court and tried to destroy his reputation for flooring in the process. Please don’t allow him to use his death that he helped induce to again avoid responsibility for his actions.”

The letter describes a phone call Brothers received from Bill Dismukes on April 15, the day he took his own life.

“He said that he was calling to tell me that he loved me and my sisters very much, but he just couldn’t take it anymore,” Brothers wrote. “He said that Will and his wife Carol had come over that morning to tell him that he was the reason that Will was going to jail and that Carol cussed him like a dog.”

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A voicemail left by Bill Dismukes with the Montgomery County District Attorneys Office was a key piece of evidence in the trial, even as Bill Dismukes himself took the stand in an attempt to dismiss the recordings because he had left them while drunk.

“Drunken words are sober truths,” lead prosecutor Sherri Mazur told the jury during closing arguments.

In the voicemail, Bill Dismukes described a theft scheme that fit perfectly with the working theory of the prosecution. In short, Will Dismukes would falsify a pay application by greatly overstating the amount of hours his father worked. Then he would take the check to his own bank, where he would typically cash out the portion that his father was actually owed, while pocketing the rest by depositing it directly into his account. (Will and Bill Dismukes share the same legal name; Bill is William Dismukes Jr. and Will is William Dismukes III). 

Although Bill Dismukes testified on the stand that none of that was true, Brothers’ recounts in her letter that he once again expressed frustration with Will’s actions.

“I told him that he didn’t steal from Weiss (Flooring Company), Will did, so it was time Will took responsibility for his actions,” Brothers wrote. “He said he knew that, Will knew that and his mama knew that, but no one would admit it. He was upset about court and angry that Will didn’t pay Weiss back in the first place.”

Brothers also wrote that Bill talked about having to go to court and testify to clear his own name.

“He said he was heartbroken and he didn’t want to live anymore,” Brothers wrote.

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The letter to Judge Reid also included a letter written by Bill Dismukes himself, which Brothers said Dismukes left for her hidden under the tractor. It started to rain before Brothers got to the note, but the writing is still mostly legible enough to make out.

In his last recorded words, Bill Dismukes wrote: “I always did the work I charged. They Blame me for telling the truth. His mama is as crooked as Will since he was in college. Vita let him use credit cards until we could not afford them and get a second mortgage. All I ever done until now is work hard and take care of my children, ask the others. Will lied and stole and murdered me. Put him in prison, his mama is a conspirator and she needs to go to (sic).”

The letter above appears as it was transcribed by Brothers. The final two sentences are written in the margin of the text after Bill Dismukes reached the bottom of the paper he was writing on and are harder to read than the rest of the text, but appear to match Brothers’ transcription.

Will Dismukes did not notify the court of any intent to use the death of his father as a mitigating factor in his sentencing, although it was the primary factor in requesting the delay of his sentencing hearing.

In an April 27 filing with the court, Will Dismukes presented only one specific mitigating factor for his sentencing: “a strong positive support system in the community or has exhibited a positive employment history.”

However, the filing did leave open the door for “any other ‘mitigating factor’ reasonably related to the purpose of sentencing.”

As for Dismukes’ “positive employment history,” this lawsuit is directly tied to the misuse of his position as project manager at Weiss Flooring Company to steal tens of thousands of dollars from his employer. Since leaving Weiss, he has been self-employed with his own flooring business. He also resigned from his role as pastor at Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, which he said was by choice, but the resignation came shortly after  his attendance of a “birthday party” for General Nathan Bedford Forrest, a key founder of the Ku Klux Klan. He also failed in his attempt to be reelected for a second term to the Alabama Legislature.

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Jacob Holmes is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected]

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