Stuart Eatmon Sr., has resigned from his position as Marengo County coroner effective Dec. 31, 2016, according to Marengo County Commission Chairman John Crawford Jr.
Eatmon submitted his letter of resignation citing health concerns during the Commission’s November meeting with an effective date of Dec. 31. In that meeting, Eatmon recommended Dan Beverly as his replacement.
“Dan has been on all calls since that [November] meeting, and he’s currently being reimbursed only for mileage. Stuart was paid through the end of December, but his pay ended then. Dan is serving as Deputy Coroner on an interim basis until the governor appoints someone to the position,” said Crawford.
Eatmon said he was going to submit a letter to Governor Robert Bentley, recommending that Beverly be appointed as coroner. It is unclear whether that letter has been submitted to the governor’s office.
Eatmon took over as coroner July 1, 2001 and had two years remaining on his current term.
“Up until this past year, for 24/7 for 365 days a year, I went on calls no matter the time or holiday,” Eatmon told The Watchman. “I was there for the people and families I served and consoled with the loss of their loved ones. That was always important to me. No matter what age they were or what the sad circumstance, I was there for the families even after my call was through.”
Eatmon came under fire on Tuesday after a derogatory racial comment appeared in a post on social media via his account. At the time, it was assumed that Eatmon was still acting coroner. The comment was a reply to an article shared by another Facebook user featuring the image of an African American, female sailor with the headline “Navy Sailor Who Refused to Stand for Anthem Gets Exactly the Punishment She Deserves.”
Eatmon’s post has since been deleted, but not before screenshots were shared on social media.
After the comment was shared, Eatmon initially appeared to offer an explanation on his personal Facebook page by saying that he was a U.S. Veteran and that anyone who is too sorry to stand for the flag should move back to another country.
As of Tuesday evening, Eatmon deleted the initial comment and posted another explaining that his Facebook account was actually hacked, and that the hackers not only posted the derogatory comment, but also sent nude images to his Facebook friends.
“I got hacked,” said Eatmon by phone. “It’s not true. A lot of people don’t know what a hacker is…you know what a hacker can do…to get in a Facebook and run it just like I’m on it.”
“I’m not the only one who got hacked yesterday,” Eatmon said.
When asked about the comment where Eatmon said he was a veteran, he said that that’s one more clue that indicated he was hacked because he is not a veteran.
“That’s one other thing that gave it away,” Eatmon said. “Whoever hacked me put that in there. I’m not a veteran. I don’t know who put that on there, but I’m not a veteran.”
“The people who truly know me know that I’m not that kind of person,” Eatmon said.
Eatmon indicated that he began receiving harassing phone calls and other communications Tuesday evening and that threats have been levied against his children.
“I don’t want my decades of service (on the rescue squad) and coroner to be smudged with the lie of something I didn’t do,” Eatmon explained. “Because I spent much of my life serving all people here. No matter their background, color, or status, we’re all people. I served all people.”
He indicated March 30 is his last day as coroner due to his health, but Crawford said Eatmon has not been on a call since mid-November.
On recommending Dan Beverly as his replacement, Eatmon said he has the experience to serve as coroner.
“He’s been a nurse for years, he was in the rescue squad for a little while, and he worked on the ambulances,” said Eatmon. “He knows how to treat people like I do and have a kind heart.”
Updated at 10:14 p.m. Wednesday with comments from Eatmon.
Previous update at 6:50 p.m. Wednesday.