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Press Release Archives  ------------------------------------------

Spt 14, 2011

Hinds County District Attorney today announced that a jury has convicted IVANA MERRITT [1069 Dupree Road, Raymond, Mississippi; DOB 3-23-1971] of the felony offense of AGGRAVATED DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL. 

Testimony in the three day trial showed that the victim, Robert M. Bounds, of Jackson, a tow truck driver, was called to South Gallatin Street just south of I-20 in the area of nightclubs Zodiac and Pop=s Place because club patron=s cars were blocking most of South Gallatin.  As Mr. Bounds was preparing to tow two cars away, Merritt drove her vehicle at a high rate of speed, colliding with several parked cars and then the wrecker before running down Mr. Bounds.  This was witnessed by two police officers and several people waiting in traffic to have the cars towed away to clear the street.   Merritt was eventually stopped on the I-20 West frontage road by officers.   Merritt told officers she had four beers and ten shots of vodka to drink.  Merritt refused to submit to an Intoxilyzer test.   Merritt testified and admitted she had consumed several alcoholic drinks, but said she had stopped drinking and had something to eat before driving. 

The Hinds County jury deliberated just under two hours before returning the guilty verdict.  Circuit Judge Jeff Weill set sentencing for September 28, 2011.   Merritt was taken into custody to await sentencing.  Assistant District Attorneys Tom Kesler and West Brewer tried the case for the State; Attorney Andy Sumrall represented Merritt.

Aug 18, 2011

District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith announces that the charge against Deryl Deadmond has been upgraded from murder to capital murder.  During the continuing investigation, new evidence has been discovered that support allegation that Deadmond committed the crime of robbery during the commission of killing James Anderson.

July 20, 2011

Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith, announces that on July 28, 2011, Saheed Davis of Jackson, MS was found guilty of murder after a three day jury trial.  Prosecutors with the Hinds County District Attorney proved that Saheed Davis shot Maurice Warner ten times resulting in Warner’s death on Christmas day 2008.  Davis was a ranking lieutenant with the Vice Lords street gang.  Judge William Gowan gave Davis a life sentence for the 2008 murder.

March 28, 2011

Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith, announces that today Defendant Jeffrey B. Turner, aliases of Jeffrey Smith and Jeffrey Thompson, 25, of  Jackson, MS, entered guilty pleas to three counts of being a prior convicted felon in possession of a firearm.  Turner appeared before Judge William Gowan who accepted the State’s recommendation which will result in the Defendant twenty-five years, five years suspended, followed by four years of post release supervision.

March 27, 2011

William Jones, Jr. pled guilty today in Hinds County Circuit Court to Capital Murder in the brutal killing of local nurse Juliet Lilly. Upon recommendation of the Hinds County District Attorney’s Office, Circuit Judge William Gowan sentenced Mr. Jones to a term of life imprisonment with no possibility of parole.

On Wednesday May 21, 2008 officers of the Jackson Police Department responded to a call of a possible homicide at 2552 Mulberry Street, the home of Juliet Lilly. When they arrived they discovered the body of Lilly lying on the floor of the home and that her body had been inflicted with multiple stab wounds. Through their investigation, officers arrested William Jones, Jr. for the murder of Juliet Lilly. Initially, Jones denied killing Lilly and blamed her murder on his co-defendant, Darrell Walker.

After being detained for a few days at the Hinds County Detention Center in Raymond, Jones finally confessed to robbing and stabbing Lilly to death in her home.Hinds County District Attorney Robert Schuler Smith presented this case to a Hinds County Grand Jury on May 30, 2008, just nine days after the murder, and the Grand Jury indicted Jones for Capital Murder.Hinds County District Attorney Robert Schuler Smith believes those that choose to violent crimes in this community will be severely punished for their actions.
 

Mar 14, 2011

Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith announced that Bryant Ware, 39, Of Canton, Mississippi has pled guilty to the crime of Manslaughter in relation to the killing of Latasha Leshell Jackson.  Ware, who was originally indicted for Murder, entered his guilty plea in the Circuit Court of Hinds County in front of the Honorable Tomie. T. Green who then sentenced Ware to the maximum twenty (20) years in prison.

Latasha Jackson had a reported relationship with Bryant Ware but an exact motive is not known. No one actually witnessed the crime. Ware initially gave a statement to police saying he was elsewhere, but  the investigation proved otherwise.  She was killed on July 24, 2008, just days before her 31st birthday.  When asked about the guilty plea today, the victim’s mother, Ms. Ruthie Cosby, stated that “it has lifted a heavy burden from me and has provided me and my grandchildren with closure.”  Ms. Jackson had two children who now reside with their grandmother. 

Mar 2, 2011
Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith, announces that yesterday Defendant Christopher Dobson, 20, of 3972 Willow Run, Jackson, MS, entered open guilty pleas to two counts of house burglary and a single count of possession of Marijuana in excess of one kilogram but less than five kilograms.  Dobson appeared before Judge William Gowan who accepted Dobson’s pleas of guilty and set sentencing for March 18, 2011.   

Hinds County District Attorney Smith is adamant that those who commit house burglaries will be dealt with harshly.  Burglaries of dwellings, as well as drugs, are epidemics in this community and the sentencing of these violators should serve as a deterrent.

Feb 11, 2011
District Attorney Robert Schuler Smith petitioned the Court to revoke the probation of Travaris Christian, who was indicted January 31, 2011 for killing Robert Carter and Renita Mark of Terry, Mississippi, and he was sentenced on that probation violation to twenty-five years in the custody of Mississippi Department of Corrections on February 11, 2011 by Hinds County Circuit Judge William A. Gowan.  

 On January 24, 2011, Travaris Christian and Deon Carter went into the home of Robert Carter and shot and killed Carter and Renita Mark, while their small child watched and was left alone for two days until deputies of the Hinds County Sheriff’s Department discovered the bodies of Carter and Mark.

Nov 16, 2010
On the night of March 21, 2010, Hardell Cornelius, 31, entered an apartment located off of Highland Park Drive in Jackson and this was the residence of his ex-girlfriend, Pamela Taylor. When he entered the apartment, he began to argue with Ms. Taylor and her friend and next door neighbor, Brittany Cheeks. During this argument, Mr. Cornelius began to fire his pistol at Ms. Cheeks and one of the bullets struck her in her heart, killing her instantly. Mr. Cornelius then fired at Ms. Taylor’s head but missed and nearly hit two small children that were also in the apartment. He fired again and struck Ms. Taylor in the abdomen. One of Ms. Taylor’s older children, James Robinson, began begging Mr. Cornelius to stop and that’s when he turned the gun at Mr. Robinson but luckily it misfired and Mr. Cornelius fled the apartment in his Dodge Dynasty. On March 23, 2010, Mr. Cornelius was apprehended at the Best Value Inn & Suites in North Jackson by the United States Marshall Service. He has been in held at the Hinds County Detention Center in Raymond since that time. 

On November 15, 2010, a jury of 12 people was selected to try the case against Mr. Cornelius. Right before opening statements on November 16, Hardell Cornelius decided to plead guilty to manslaughter and aggravated assault and received a sentence of fifty years to serve in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections. istrict Attorney Robert Schuler Smith believes that if you terrorize people in their homes that you will be given the maximum punishment. District Attorney Smith also points out that this crime occurred in March of this year and was ready for trial in less than eight months, which is evidence that the criminal backlog in Hinds County does not exist anymore.

Spt 20th, 2010
Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith announced the sentencing of Houston Sparkman, 43, of 1122 Blair Street, Jackson, Mississippi. On Thursday, September 16, Sparkman plead guilty to three charges of Sale of Marijuana. He was sentenced by Judge William A. Gowan to twenty years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections with twelve years to serve and eight years suspended.

The three sales occurred during the months of April and May 2009, and Sparkman was indicted on the charges in April 2010 after a thorough investigation by Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics agents.

District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith stated this sentence reflects a concerted effort to deter drug trafficking in Hinds County.
 

Spt. 15th, 2010
Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith announced the sentencing of Donald Mitchell, 31, of 2100 Capitol Street, Apt-A, Jackson, Mississippi. Mitchell was found guilty by a jury of his peers for Possession of Cocaine with intent to sell on September 15, 2010. Mitchell was sentenced as a habitual offender by Judge William A. Gowan to life without possibility of parole in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections.

On September 4, 2008, Mitchell was arrested by officers of the Jackson Police Department and charged with possession of cocaine with intent.

Hinds County Assistant District Attorneys, Keith L. Gates and Jennifer Gillis of the Jackson Enforcement Team, stated this sentence reflects a concerted effort by the above named agencies to deter drug trafficking in Hinds County.

Aug. 16, 2010
Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith, announces that on July 30, 2010, Marshall Keith Watkins of Byrum, MS was found guilty, after a three day jury trial, on six counts on drug related offenses: Count 1 - possession of oxycodone with intent to distribute, Count II - simple possession of methamphetamine, Count III - possession of morphine with intent to distribute, Count IV - possession of hydrocodone with intent to distribute, Count V - possession of hydromorphone with intent to distribute, and Count VI - possession of oxymorphone with intent to distribute.

Today, August 16, 2010, Judge Yerger sentenced Watkins as follows: Count 1 – 30 years in custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, Count II – 6 years, Count III – 20 years, Count IV – 20 years, Count V – 20 years, and Count VI – 20 years. All sentences are to run concurrent with one another.

According to ADA Lora Boggs, who tried the case along with ADA Shaun Yurtkuran, deputies in the narcotics unit of the Hinds County Sherriff’s Department executed a lawful search warrant for Watkins’ residence where they recovered over 1,300 dosage units of controlled substances, methamphetamine, and evidence indicative of drug sales including sale ledgers, manual and digital scales, distribution bags and pill crushers.

Hinds County District Attorney Smith is adamant that those who commit drug related offenses will be dealt with harshly. Drugs are an epidemic in this community and drug dealers will not be tolerated.
 

July 28, 2010
Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith, announced the conviction of Deon Carter, 18 years old of Jackson, MS. A Hinds County Jury took less than an hour to find Carter guilty of Aggravated Assault.
Judge Tomie Green followed the recommendation of the victim’s family and sentenced Carter to 10 years in MDOC custody with 5 years to serve.

On July 14, 2008, Jackson Police officers responded to Queen Victoria Lane and found a beaten and unresponsive Damion Bracey. Bracey was transported to UMC where he underwent surgery for various injuries including severe head trauma. Carter admitted to hitting Bracey, and eyewitness testimony revealed the Defendant additionally kicked the victim in the head at least 3 or 4 times while on the ground. The fight resulted as Carter wrongly believed Bracey had stolen a pair of shoes from him.

Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith said criminals will be taken off the streets as he promised.
 

July 2, 2010
Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith, announces the sentencing of Jameil Clark, 29, of 1236 Biloxi Street Jackson, MS. Clark was sentenced by Judge Malcom Harrison to 20 years to serve in the custody of MDOC.   

On August 26, 2009 Jameil Clark shot his wife Tina Clark in the chest at the residence of her friend. Tina was in hiding from Jameil at the time. Jameil had made violent threats toward her, her children, and her family in the days and weeks preceding the shooting. Jameil sought her out and in the presence of two witnesses and several small children, chased Tina into the residential bathroom and shot her at point blank range while she was on the phone with the police. 

Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith said this was a big step in his effort to get the worst of the worst off the streets. D.A. Smith was pleased to be able to provide justice and protection to the victim Tina Clark and the citizens of Hinds County.

June 21, 2010
Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith, announced the sentencing of James Earl Warrem, 46, of 5630 Angle Drive, Jackson, Mississippi. Warren pled guilty on one (1) charge of Sale of Marijuana. Warren was sentenced by Judge Melvin V. Priester to ten (10) years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, five (5) years suspended, with a total of five (5) years to serve.

Warren sold marijuana to an unnamed individual on March 11, 2009. The investigation of Warren’s drug related criminal activity was conducted by the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, Jackson Enforcement Team.

Hinds County Assistant District Attorney Keith L. Gates stated this sentence reflects a concerted effort by the above named agencies to deter drug trafficking in Hinds County.

May 24, 2010
(State of Mississippi v. Shawn States)

On April 24, 2007, Justin Howard and Antoine Reece were brutally murdered in their North Jackson apartment by their friend, Shawn States.
Howard and Reece, both Iraqi war veterans and Tougaloo College students, were both shot in the back of the head and robbed by Mr. States. States was apprehended in Miami, Florida, a week after the murders.  After a four day trial, States was found guilty by a Hinds County Circuit Court jury on May 21, 2010 and sentenced by Circuit Judge W. Swan Yerger to two consecutive life terms with no possibility of parole. District Attorney Robert Schuler Smith believes those that choose to murder people in this community will be dealt with harshly in order to send a message that says this community will not tolerate those types of crimes.
 

April 19, 2010
Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith, announced the conviction of Gabriel Marshall, 26, of Jackson. Marshall was sentenced by Judge William Gowan to thirty (30) years in the custody of MDOC, with eighteen (18) years to serve, and fined $5,000. In April 2009, agents of the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics Jackson Enforcement Team (JET) began conducting surveillance on Marshall and others suspected of selling MDMA (Ecstasy) in the Metro area. The JET unit executed a controlled buy purchasing over $1,400 of Ecstasy pills. Thereafter, Marshall was arrested and found to be in possession of approximately 600 dosage units of Ecstasy. Marshall pleaded guilty to sale of MDMA and possession of 600 dosage units with intent to distribute. Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith stated this sentence reflects a concerted effort by MBN and the D.A.’s Office to deter drug dealers in Hinds County.

April 15, 2010
Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith, announced the conviction of Leonard Carey, 19 years old of Jackson, MS.  Carey was convicted by a Hinds County Jury for the February 2009 Murder of Phillip Charleston.  He was sentenced by Judge William Gowan to Life in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections.  

On February 5, 2009, Jackson Police officers responded to 209 Hite Street.  Upon arrival, officers learned that Phillip Charleston had been shot two times in the abdomen.  Officers were able to determine the suspect Leonard Carey lived at the adjacent house and apprehended him minutes after the shooting. Charleston later died as a result of the gunshot wounds. Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith said with this verdict we are continuing to keep the worst of the worst offenders in Jackson off the streets. DA Smith was pleased to obtain justice for the victim and his family who are residents of Hinds County.

February 9, 2010
District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith announced today that DAVID TYRONE SAMPSON, [ 5755 Queen Mary Lane, Jackson, MS; DOB 07-23-1977] has been sentenced to 20 years in prison after being convicted last week of possession of cocaine and marijuana after a two day jury trial.

Sampson was charged with one count of possession of cocaine with the intent to sell or distribute, and an additional charge of possession of more than thirty grams of marijuana with the intent to sell or distribute. Evidence presented to the jury showed that Sampson was stopped for a traffic violation on Ellis Avenue near the intersection of West Capital Street in Jackson. As the deputy sheriff approached the car, he smelled a strong odor of marijuana. The deputy then found a small electronic scale in the pants pocket of Sampson which contained trace amounts of cocaine and marijuana. Officers then found a large quantity of cocaine and marijuana in the car. There was approximately 140 grams of cocaine, and 220 grams of marijuana, along with two larger electronic scales. Sampson declined to testify and the jury deliberated just less than one hour before returning unanimous verdicts of guilty in both counts. Sampson was previously convicted of manslaughter and armed robbery in Hinds County in 1996. Sampson has two more drug indictments pending in Hinds County Circuit Court.

Special Circuit Judge Breland Hilburn told Sampson that drug dealing is one of the major problems within this community in handing him a 20 year sentence.  District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith stated: A majority of our cases are drug related. We feel that a major drug dealer has been brought to justice by a fair Hinds County jury. This should also be a message to all criminal defendants that nothing, not even a serious budget crisis, will deter my office from pursuing convictions.

 

Jan 20, 2010
Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith announced today that a Hinds County man scheduled for trial this week before Circuit Judge Malcolm O. Harrison has plead guilty to two counts of armed robbery rather than face a jury trial.

MARCUS RATLIFF [ 3957 Del-Rosa, Jackson, MS; DOB 11-4-1983 ] plead guilty to one count of armed robbery of the BP gas station on Hanging Moss Road, and to an additional count of armed robbery of a customer of that business that occurred on August 27, 2008. Ratliff was sentenced to 25 years imprisonment, with 15 years suspended, and 10 years to serve, with 5 years probation after release. The sentences will run concurrent, but Ratliff will have to serve the entire ten years as a result of using a firearm in the robberies.

District Attorney Smith stated that had the case proceeded to trial, evidence would have shown that Ratliff rode to the gas station as a passenger on a motorcycle and entered the store with a handgun. He took a cash register drawer from an employee and took $1,250.00 in cash from a customer inside the store at the time of the robbery. The robbery was captured on video by the surveillance system and later broadcast on Crimestoppers. Ratliff was identified by a tipster and the victims later picked him out of a photo lineup. Ratliff confessed when arrested.

Jan 20, 2010
Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith announced today that ERIC LAVONE TILLMAN [4660 Dixon Road, Jackson, MS; DOB 4-1-1980] today was sentenced for an armed home invasion and carjacking by Circuit Judge Malcolm O. Harrison. Tillman was sentenced to 20 years on each charge, with 10 years suspended, and 10 years to serve, followed by 5 years supervised probation, and fined $2,000.00 on each charge. The sentences will run concurrently.

District Attorney Smith states that the evidence would show that on September 21, 2009, Tillman and a co-defendant broke into the home of a 61 year old female armed with handguns. Tillman demanded the woman’s purse which contained $55.00. Tillman then forced the woman into her car and drove to a branch of her bank and forced her to provide her PIN number to withdraw $300.00 from her account. The victim and her vehicle were then released. Tillman avoided trial by pleading guilty to the home invasion and carjacking with no recommendation as to sentence from the District Attorney’s Office. Tillman will be required to serve the entire ten years on these violent offenses.

Dec 8th, 2009
Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith, announces that David Payton, 29, of 1225 Bailey Avenue, Jackson was sentenced to serve twenty-five (25) years today for the gun armed robbery of the Rally’s restaurant at 300 West Woodrow Wilson on the evening of July 15, 2007. Payton entered plea of guilty to the armed robbery before Judge Breland Hilburn on November 17, 2009.

According to ADA Lora Boggs, Payton was one of two armed gunmen who entered the Rally’s located at 300 West Woodrow Wilson on the evening of July 15, 2007 demanding money from employees at gunpoint. Payton then forced employees to crawl into the eatery’s cooler after which he fled the scene.

David Payton was later identified by the victim from a non-suggestive photo lineup. Hinds County District Attorney Smith is adamant that those who choose to commit violent crimes such as armed robberies within this community will be dealt with harshly. This community will not tolerate those types of crimes.

Dec 1st, 2009

District Attorney Robert Schuler Smith announces that Ryan Kennedy, of 1313 Barrett Avenue, Jackson, MS, pled guilty on Monday,30 November 2009, before Circuit Court Judge Tomie Green to two counts of aggravated assault and two counts or armed robbery  and received a sentence of twenty years to serve on each aggravated assault and 30 years with 10 suspended and 20 years to serve on both armed robberies.  The four sentences will run concurrently.

Because the armed robberies were with a firearm, Kennedy will serve 20 years before he is eligible for parole. On 11 April 2008, Kennedy entered the home of one victim, shot the victim/homeowner and robbed him, then shot the victim/homeowner’s cousin who was a guest and robbed that victim. “ People need to heed a warning that this type of violence will not be tolerated,” states District Attorney Robert Schuler Smith.

Nov 25h, 2009

Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith, announced the sentencing of Undra Sutton, 28, of 1142 Raymond Road, Apt. B-2, Jackson, Mississippi. Sutton pled guilty on two (2) charges of Sale of Cocaine. Sutton was sentenced by Judge Melvin V. Priester to fifteen (15) years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, five (5) years suspended, with a total of ten (10) years to serve.  

The investigation of Undra Sutton’s drug related criminal activity was conducted by the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, Jackson Enforcement Team.  Hinds County Assistant District Attorney Keith L. Gates stated this sentence reflects a concerted effort by the above named agencies to deter drug trafficking in Hinds County.

November 18th, 2009

Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith, announced the conviction of Serderick Lawson, 42, of 2705 Idaho Street, Jackson. Lawson was sentenced by Judge William Gowan to twenty (20) years in the custody of MDOC, with fifteen (15) years to serve.  

In late 2008, agents of the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics Jackson Enforcement Team (JET) began conducting surveillance on Lawson. The JET unit executed several controlled buys purchasing various prescription narcotics through the use of confidential informants. Thereafter, a search warrant of Lawson’s residence revealed cocaine, Hydrocodone, and Dilaudid. The defendant pleaded guilty to four sales of controlled substances and possession of cocaine.

Hinds County Assistant District Attorney Brad Hutto stated this sentence reflects a concerted effort by MBN and the D.A.’s Office to deter drug dealers in Hinds County.

October 15th, 2009
 

Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith, announced the sentencing of Johnny Gibbs, 47, of 5434 Queen Christina Lane, Jackson, Mississippi. Gibbs was found guilty by a jury of his peers for Possession of Marijuana while in possession of a firearm on October 1, 2009. Gibbs was sentenced by Judge Melvin V. Priester to sixteen (16) years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, five (5) years suspended, with a total of eleven (11) years to serve.  

On June 18, 2008, Gibbs was arrested by officers of the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics and charged with possession of marijuana with intent while in possession of multiple firearms. The arrest was the result of an investigation by the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, Jackson Enforcement Team.

Hinds County Assistant District Attorney Keith L. Gates stated this sentence reflects a concerted effort by the above named agencies to deter drug trafficking in Hinds County.

October 14, 2009

Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith announced that a Jackson, Mississippi, who earlier this year plead guilty to charges arising from an armed home invasion that took place in Edwards, Mississippi, in August, 2008, has been sentenced to 45 years in prison by Circuit Judge Breland Hilburn. Prosecutors made no agreement as to the sentence and argued for a harsh sentence without regard to a 75 year sentence imposed earlier in the week.

Justin Larun Lomax [DOB 12-1-1989; 1505 Cedar Pine Drive, Jackson, Mississippi] plead guilty to burglary of a dwelling and aggravated assault after a jury had been selected to try the case on Tuesday, September 8, 2009. Charges of shooting into a dwelling and using a stolen firearm were dismissed in consideration of the guilty pleas.

Smith stated that had the case been heard by the jury, evidence would show that on August 21, 2008, Lomax approached a residence at 201 Montgomery Street in Edwards, Mississippi, and attempted to disable the telephone by beating on the service box on the exterior of the house. The victim was awakened by the noise and went towards the front door which was kicked in by Lomax. Lomax was armed with a .45 caliber Ruger handgun. The victim announced he was calling the police. As Lomax fled the residence he shot at the victim 5 times. Lomax ran away from the house and was confronted by neighbors, then ran past another house but tripped on a barbed wire fence. On August 23, 2008, Lomax was arrested after a traffic stop and was found in possession of a stolen .45 handgun which the State Crime Lab determined was the same weapon that fired the shots in the burglary by comparing the spent hulls recovered at the scene two days earlier. Once Lomax was in custody, investigators determined that he had wounds on his leg consistent with barbed wire cuts. Lomax confessed to investigators that he obtained the .45 handgun in a prior burglary.

 

October 13, 2009

On October 8, 2009, the Hinds County District Attorney Robert Schuler Smith and the Jackson Police Department were successful in obtaining a conviction against Patricia Dutcher for the charge of Manslaughter.

On June 29, 2007, Officers were dispatched to Lakeland Drive under the bridge by the Pearl River in reference to a stabbing. Once Officers were on scene, they came into contact with the Defendant, Patricia Dutcher. Dutcher told officers she and Kewanee were asleep under the bridge. Dutcher stated she got up to use the restroom and when she returned, Kewanee was stabbed in the chest gasping for air. Dutcher told officers, she did not know how it happened. However, later in a confession, Dutcher stated there was an altercation between her and Kewanee and she did indeed stab him in the chest.

The defendant plead guilty to the charge of Manslaughter in front of the Honorable Winston Kidd on October 8, 2009. The defendant was sentenced to a term of 20 years to serve in the Custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections.

 

October 1, 2009

Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith, announced the conviction of Johnny Gibbs, 47, of 5434 Queen Christina Lane, Jackson, Mississippi. Gibbs will be sentenced in this matter by Judge Melvin V. Priester on October 15, 2008.  

On June 18, 2008, Gibbs was arrested by officers of the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics in possession of 340 grams of marijuana and multiple firearms. The arrest was the result of an investigation of Gibbs by the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, Jackson Enforcement Team (JET). Gibbs was found guilty by a jury of his peers of Possession of Marijuana while in possession of a firearm.

Hinds County Assistant District Attorney Keith L. Gates stated this verdict reflects a concerted effort to deter drug trafficking in Hinds County.

 

September 14, 2009

Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith, announced the conviction of Edward Lynn Stapleton, 31, of 879 William Blvd, Apt 16-C (Lexington Apartments), Ridgeland, Mississippi. Stapleton was sentenced by Judge Melvin V. Priester to forty (40) years to serve in the custody of MDOC. 

On July 30, 2008, Stapleton was arrested by officers of the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics in possession of over forty (40) dosage units of Ecstasy. The arrest was the result of an extensive investigation of Stapleton by the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, Jackson Enforcement Team (JET). Stapleton entered a guilty plea to the charge of Possession of Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (Ecstasy) with intent to distribute and received a sentence of forty (40) years. Stapleton had previously been convicted in Hinds County on April 12, 2004, for two separate charges of Possession of Marijuana and on October 9, 2008, for Felony Evasion in Madison County.

Hinds County Assistant District Attorney Keith L. Gates stated this sentence reflects a concerted effort to deter drug trafficking in Hinds County.

 

July 29, 2009
A Jackson, Mississippi, man avoided an August 3, 2009, trial date by pleading guilty to breaking into a home and holding a gun to a residents head while another man ransacked the home.

Hinds Count District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith announced that Corey Pendleton [DOB 09-15-1983; 225 McDowell Road Apartment F-5, Jackson, Mississippi] was set for trial on burglary and armed robbery charges before Circuit Judge Breland Hilburn on August, 3, 2009; however, during a pretrial status hearing on July 29, 2009, Pendleton elected to enter a plea of guilty to the armed robbery charge. According to D.A. Smith, his office made no sentence recommendation, leaving Pendleton facing a sentence of up to a day short of the remainder of his life expectancy. Had the case proceeded to trial, the jury could have imposed a life sentence on the armed robbery charge.

Smith stated that if the case proceeded to trial, the State would prove that Pendleton and another man waited outside the home near the victim= s car. As the victim, her daughter, her sister and several small children neared the car, Pendleton, wearing a mask, produced a handgun and forced the group back inside the home. Pendleton ripped the telephone line out of the wall. The other man began to ransack the home looking for items to steal. The victims, including the children, were threatened with death by the home invaders. A thirteen year old girl was grabbed by the hair and thrown to the floor in order to steal her shoes. Another resident of the home, Mario Palmer, escaped to a neighbor= s home to have police called. Jackson Police Department officers Bill Barnes and James Dunaway arrived with the robbery still ongoing. Pendleton saw the officers approach the house and removed his mask and handed the weapon to one of the victims in an effort to avoid detection. The officers were able to enter the home and capture both thieves while allowing the victims to leave the home to escape harm. Pendleton later confessed, stating that he was due in court in Ridgeland, Mississippi, and needed money for court.

Smith stated that his office will continue to aggressively pursue cases of home invasion and seek harsh sentences. Pendleton was ordered to undergo a presentence investigation, with sentencing tentatively set on August 29, 2009.

 

July 30, 2009
Joseph Johnett Wilson was convicted of the crime of the sexual battery of his natural daughter by a Hinds County Jury. The case was tried before the Honorable Swan Yerger. The sexual assault occurred on October 18, 2005, when Wilson, then thirty-nine years old, drove his seventeen year old biological daughter to a remote area in Hinds County and raped her. A rape kit had been performed on the child the following day at St. Dominic Hospital in Jackson. A serological examination of the contents of the rape kit identified that sperm was recovered from inside the victim’s body. DNA testing revealed conclusively that the sperm found inside of the daughter belonged to her father Joseph Wilson. During the trial Mr. Wilson admitted the sperm found in his daughter belong to him. He however alleged that his daughter had raped him.

A sentencing hearing immediately followed the trial where Judge Yerger sentenced Joseph Wilson to the maximum term of thirty years to serve. At the hearing the daughter testified that she still loved her father and could not understand why he had hurt her and the family so terribly. Joseph Wilson will not be eligible from release from prison until March of 2039. The successful prosecution and ultimate conviction of this truly reprehensible crime re-affirms District Attorney Robert Smith's commitment to keep Jackson safe from the “worst of the worst”.

July 10th, 2009
Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith, announced the guilty verdict by a Hinds County jury of Willie James Day, 37, of 784 Stockyard Road, Pickens, Mississippi, to the crime of carjacking.

On September 30, 2007, Willie James Day took the vehicle of the victim, Ms. Lakeitha A. Gooden, while Ms Gooden was attempting to use the telephone at the Shell Station located at 455 Daniel Lake Boulevard, Jackson, Mississippi.  The eye witness testimony of the victim and the store clerk on duty. was essential in establishing the guilt of Willie James Day.

Hinds County Assistant District Attorney, Patrick Beasley, stated the verdict rendered in this case reflects our community’s consensus that perpetrators of violent crimes will be held accountable for violent acts committed in Hinds County. Day is scheduled to be sentenced on July 16, 2009; the maximum sentence allowed under the law for the crime of carjacking is fifteen (15) years.

June 25, 2009
Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith, announced that Benjamin Clark, 24 years of age of Jackson, MS. plead guilty to MURDER and was sentenced by Circuit Judge Swan Yerger to life in prison and is not eligible for parole.

He was charged with breaking into an apartment in February, 2008 and killing Henry Ledlow, II. The victim, Henry Ledlow, II, was stabbed 10 times in the back and neck. He later died at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. After the attack, the defendant took Caroline Cockrell, Ledlow’s finance, to Alabama with him. Tuscaloosa police apprehended Clark the next day at a hotel.

District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith said that with the assistance of the Jackson Police Department, and Assistant District Attorney, Shaun Yurtkuran, the Defendant, Benjamin Clark will spend the rest of his life in prison for this thoughtless and senseless crime.

May 13, 2009
On June 16, 2008, Chaz Pinkston, 229 Overlook Drive, Jackson, MS, 21 years of age, along with two other men, walked into the Merchants & Farmer’s Bank located in North Jackson, right across from Picadilly Restaurant, and pointed a handgun at the branch manager, Jeffery Jackson. and demanded he open the bank vault.

Pinkston ordered Jackson to get down on his knees and then attempted to open the vault, causing the alarm to sound. As Pinkston fled the bank, he fired two shots hitting the computer monitors located in the teller booths. He turned himself in a few days later to officers from the Jackson Police Department.

After a three day trial, Pinkston was found guilty by a Hinds County Circuit Court jury on May 13, 2009 and sentenced by Circuit Judge W. Swan Yerger to serve 35 years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections.

District Attorney Robert Schuler Smith believes those that choose to commit armed robberies in this community will be dealt with harshly in order to send a message that says this community will not tolerate those types of crimes. Less than one year after this crime was committed the defendant is in the penitentiary.

APRIL 7, 2009
Hinds County District Attorney, Robert Shuler Smith, announced the conviction of Defendants, Arsenio Haynes and Sylvester Bracey. The Defendants were each charged with house burglary, auto theft and aggravated assault. Arsenio Haynes and Sylvester Bracey plead guilty to the above charges and will be sentenced by Judge Tommie Green.

On June 5, 2006, Arsenio Haynes and Sylvester Bracey, who were between the ages of 13 and 19 years of age, threw a brick through the patio door of the complainant, Ms. Elizabeth Winter. Ms. Winter was sitting at her kitchen table eating when this occurred. She ran out of kitchen and made it to the carport but was dragged back inside her house by the defendants. Ms. Winter was tied up and placed in her bath tub and was told that she would be killed if she didn’t tell the defendants where her purse and the keys to her 2003 blue Crown Victoria was located. After the defendants retrieve her purse and keys to her car they left and Ms. Winter was able to free herself and call police. She was transported to hospital covered in blood with cuts and bruises.

Assistant District Attorney, Valorri Jones stated that this was a hideous crime and she feels that Judge Green’s sentence of the defendants involved will be accordingly.

District Attorney, Robert Shuler Smith stated that we are pleased that the victim was able to identify these defendants in spite of the trauma that she experienced during this tragic incident and that we have been aggressively pursuing violent offenders to help reduce the rate of violent crimes in Hinds County.

April 1, 2009
Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith, announced the conviction of Devin Hawkins, 23 years of age of 987 East Northside Drive, Apt 1-B, (HallMark Garden Apartments) Jackson, MS. Devin Hawkins was found guilty of one count of murder and one count of Aggravated Assault. He was sentenced by Judge Winston Kidd to life in prison.

On July 11, 2007, Jackson Police Officers responded to 987 East Northside Drive in referenced to a shooting. Upon arrival, Officers observed that two black males were lying on the ground. Both victims had suffered multiple gunshot wounds to the body. The victims were identified as Jeremy Lewis and John Norwood. Mr. Lewis was deceased and Mr. Norwood survived the shooting. The Defendant was interviewed by the detectives in reference to this case and he confessed to confronting the victims about breaking into his apartment and shooting them as they ran from him once he displayed a weapon. The Defendant advised the detective that he threw the gun used in the shooting in the Pearl River.

District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith said that with the assistance of the Jackson Police Department, Senior Assistant District Attorney, Winston Thompson and Assistant District Attorney, Tina Herron, the Defendant, Devin Hawkins will spend the rest of his life in prison for these thoughtless and senseless crimes.

02-26-2009  Re: State of Mississippi v. Courtney Savoie

On February 26, 2009, the Hinds County District Attorney Robert Schuler Smith and the Jackson Police were successful in convicting Defendant Courtney Savoie for the charge of Aggravated DUI.

On January 6, 2008, defendant Courtney Savoie, was traveling , South in the North bound lane near US 51, without headlights, when her 2000 Mercury Cougar collided head on with the victim, Lyndon Bowlin’s 2008 Ford Escape. The collision resulted in the death of the victim. At the time of the collision the defendant had a blood alcohol content of .25 (3 times the legal limit).

The defendant plead guilty to the charge of Aggravated DUI in front of the Honorable Judge Winston Kidd on January 21, 2009. Today, the defendant was sentenced to a term of (20) twenty years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections.

District Attorney, RSS, states that today’s conviction of the defendant is an example of his fulfilling his campaign promise to stand up for victims’ rights in Hinds County.

02-24-2009  Re: State of Mississippi vs. Don Watts

Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith, the Jackson Enforcement Team (JET), which comprises of the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, Mississippi Department of Corrections, Hinds County Sheriff Department and Jackson Police Department were victorious in convicting a notorious drug offender.

On Tuesday, February 24, 2009, Don Watts of Jackson, Mississippi plead guilty to one (1) count of sale of cocaine and one (1) count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Watts was sentenced by Special Circuit Court Judge William Gowan to a term of thirty (30) years to in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, with twenty (20) years to serve and ten (10) years suspended.

Hinds County Assistant District Attorney Patrick Beasley said that this is part of a concerted effort to ensure that drug offenders understand that Hinds County is not a haven for drug trafficking and violators will receive serious jail time if convicted.

02-10-2009
Hinds County District Attorney, Robert Shuler Smith and Assistant District Attorneys Jamie McBride and Westley Brewer are presently in trial in Judge W. Kidd’s courtroom regarding the prosecution of the above referenced defendant on a forcible rape charge that happened at the Northhill Square Apartments in North Jackson. The rape occurred when the Defendant, Wilfred Powell, forced his way into the victim’s apartment and raped her at knife point.. The victim picked Mr. Powell out of a line up but he denies that he is the one but his DNA says otherwise.

ADA Jamie McBride and Wesley Brewer said they are continuing to work toward District Attorney Robert Smith’s goal which is to ensure that the “worst of the worst” serve serious time for their crimes in Hinds County.

02-10-2009
Re: State of Mississippi vs. Felix Sylvester

Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith, was victorious in convicting a notorious violent offender. On Friday, February 6, 2009, Felix Sylvester of Jackson, Mississippi plead guilty to aggravated assault. Sylvester was sentenced by Special Circuit Court Judge Melvin Priester to a term of twenty (20) years to serve in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections.

Hinds County Assistant District Attorney Patrick Beasley said that this is part of a concerted effort to ensure that violent offenders are dealt with in a manner that reflects the community's outrage with the increase of violent crime in Hinds County.

01-20-2009
Re: State of Mississippi vs. Theoshawn Demond Cavett
Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith, the Jackson Enforcement Team (JET), which comprises of the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, Mississippi Department of Corrections, Hinds County Sheriff Department and Jackson Police Department were victorious in convicting a notorious drug offender.

On Tuesday, January 20, 2009, Theoshawn Demond Cavett of Jackson, Mississippi plead guilty to one (1) count of possession of cocaine and one (1) count of possession of marijuana. Cavett was sentenced by Special Circuit Court Judge William Gowan to a term of twenty (20) years to serve in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections.

Hinds County Assistant District Attorney Patrick Beasley said that this is part of a concerted effort to ensure that drug offenders understand that Hinds County is not a haven for drug trafficking and violators will receive serious jail time if convicted.

01-17-2009
Re: State of Mississippi vs. Isaac Davila

Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith, and the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics (MBN) were victorious in convicting a notorious drug offender. On Wednesday, January 14, 2009, Cedric Mason of Jackson, Mississippi, plead guilty to sale of marijuana and was sentenced by Special Circuit Court Judge William Gowan to a term of fifteen (15) years in the custody of the Mississippi of Corrections.

Hinds County Assistant District Attorney Patrick Beasley said that this conviction is part of a concerted effort to ensure that individuals who are selling drugs in Hinds County serve serious time.

01
-12-2009 - Edith Dianne Belk

Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith was successful in getting the maximum punishment today for an embezzlement charge on Edith Dianne Belk. Dianne Belk, a former Weight Watchers bookkeeper who embezzled nearly $1 million from the business was sentenced to 10 years in Hinds County Circuit Court.  Edith Dianne Belk, 59 of Satartia also was ordered to make restitution of $674,000.
Belk plead guilty in October, 2008 to stealing $921,000 from Weight Watchers Inc. over six years beginning in 2000.

District Attorney Robert Smith stated: “If ever a person deserved the maximum sentence it was this person. She betrayed the trust of her employer who was paying her a salary the whole time she was stealing. “

12-09-2008 - RE: State of Mississippi v. Melvin Givens  (click here for printable pdf)

On February 18, 2008 Melvin Givens, along with two other men, walked into the Kentucky Fried Chicken located in Westland Plaza, right across from Provine High School, and pointed a shotgun at the employees and demanded they empty the registers.

Givens took the money from the registers and fled the scene with the two other men. He was apprehended a few days later by officers from the Jackson Police Department at the Rebelwoods apartments.On December 8, 2008, Givens was set to go to trial before Circuit Judge W. Swan Yerger but chose to plea guilty right before a jury was impaneled. The Judge accepted the State’s recommendation and Givens was sentenced to 25 years with 5 years suspended and 20 to serve in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections.

District Attorney Robert Schuler Smith believes those that commit violent crimes should be given harsh sentences in order to send a message that says this community will not tolerate those types of crimes. He also believes that if you commit a crime near a school you will pay a hefty price.

11-16-2008  Robert S. Smith addresses law enforcement crime summit


Hinds District Attorney Robert Smith addresses law enforcement officers regarding Identity Theft

In May of this year, Governor Haley Barbour signed into law SB2712, which is known as Miss Breland’s Law. Miss Breland, a 99 year old retired Jackson Public School educator, was attacked during a purse snatching at her home in 2006 and later died of injuries sustained during the robbery. Just hours after the attack, Miss Breland’s credit cards were used as she lay helpless on the floor of her carport.
Miss Breland’s law is designed to provide an up to five years sentencing enhancements for fraudulent uses of ID card, driver’s license, credit cards, commission of false presentation, commission of identity theft, forgery in every case in which the instrumentality was initially obtained in the course violent crimes or burglary such as: assault, homicide, kidnapping, robbery, carjacking, burglary, or larceny.

This law is applicable to any individual who was found to use the credit card, debit card, bank card, bank draft, other document or financial instrument, or any identifying information including an account number taken from the person, possession, custody or control of another whether it was taken by the offender or another person.

It seems that many of the violent crimes and burglary’s plaguing our communities are fueled by the motive to get the credit card, access to bank accounts and other identifying information of the victims. This law is one step towards deterring these crimes.
This law is unique in that the sentence enhancement is also applicable to those who used the identifying instruments of another even if they themselves did not commit the initial exacerbating crime of procuring the instrument through the commission of a violent crime or burglary. Some criminals will “choose” identity theft because it is a “non-violent” offense that often carries light sentencing or fines and it is an easy source of quick cash, Miss Breland’s law will help remind these individuals that this is not the case, not in Mississippi.

10-21-2008 (click here for a printable pdf)
Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith announces today that a Jackson man, David Earl Bell [3340 Harley Street, Jackson, MS; DOB 6-10-1987] has been sentenced to twenty-two [22] years in the Mississippi Department of Corrections by Circuit Judge Breland Hilbun after pleading guilty to six [6] counts of armed robbery for the December 18, 2007, armed robberies of six individuals at Mug Shots, a Jackson restaurant and bar. Bell was sentenced on Monday, October 20, 2008, after pleading guilty in September. Smith said that had the case gone to trial, the State would have proved that Aguebor Godwin, a cook at Mug Shots, set up the robbery with Bell and a third defendant, Jimmie Redmond. Godwin was not present at the actual robberies, but sent Bell and Redmond a text message to go ahead with the robberies. Bell and Redmond entered the restaurant with pistols drawn and pointed at the manager and five [5] customers. Bell and Redmond threatened to kill the manager to force him to turn over cash of the restaurant and then took watches, wallets and other personal items from the five customers and then forced all of them into the cooler in the kitchen of the restaurant. Jackson Police officers responded quickly and caught all three defendants in a car in the parking lot of the restaurant before they could flee the scene. All items taken from the victims were recovered. Bell and Godwin confessed their roles in the robbery scheme. Godwin was previously sentenced to twenty-five [25] years in prison with ten [10] years suspended. Redmond has plead guilty to all counts and will be sentenced later. Bell and Godwin must serve the first ten [10] years of their sentences without possibility of parole or early release.

Stated Smith, “We made no plea offers in these cases, all three defendants plead guilty with no agreed sentences. I will continue to seek harsh sentences in cases like these where innocent victims were terrorized. I want people in Jackson to have confidence that there will be very serious consequences for criminals that use guns to rob people.”

10-10-2008 (click here for a printable pdf)
Hinds Count District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith announced this afternoon that MARY L. LEWIS [712 Beaverbrook Dr., Jackson, Mississippi; DOB 5-10-1060] has been found guilty of the June 23, 2007, murder of Arthur Lee Patterson after a jury trial that began on Tuesday, October 7, 2008. The jury deliberated about three and one-half [3 1/2] hours today before returning the unanimous verdict of guilty about 2:30 p.m. Lewis was immediately sentenced to life imprisonment.

Lewis and Patterson lived together on Beaverbrook Drive in Jackson. Evidence presented at the trial showed that Lewis shot Patterson in the upper abdomen near the intersection of Sears Drive and Eminence Row in Jackson the morning after she told a neighbor she planned to kill him. She then took Patterson’s automobile and stayed away from home all night. Early on the morning of June 23, 2007, Patterson found Lewis in his automobile and demanded that she get out of the car. Witnesses described a brief struggle between the two and then Lewis shot Patterson. Lewis then fled the scene and had Patterson’s car parked behind her uncle’s house. Lewis was arrested the next day by Jackson Police Department detectives. Lewis admitted shooting Patterson, but claimed it was an accident. At trial, Lewis did not testify, but defended her case by arguing self-defense. Prosecutor’s argued that Lewis intentionally shot Patterson rather than surrender the car and noted that Patterson was not armed and there was no evidence that Patterson intended to harm Lewis in retrieving the car.

District Attorney Smith stated: “We elected not to make any plea offers in this case. We felt this was a heinous murder as the jury has found. Defense counsel sought sympathy for this female defendant, but this jury stayed focused on the true facts and justice has been done.”
 

9-10-2008  Defendant Dexter Tyrone Johnston pleads guilty to charges- receives 28 year sentence  (click here for printable pdf)

9-03-2008  (click here for printable pdf)

Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith announced the conviction of Henry Watson, 43, of 4901 McWillie Circle, Jackson, MS. Mr. Watson pleaded guilty on September 3, 2008, to the charge of Aggravated Assault and now faces a maximum sentence of twenty years. On March 4, 2007, Watson entered the parking lot of a northwest Jackson shopping center and stabbed his estranged wife at least 30 times then attempted to set her on fire. A concerned citizen stepped in and forced Watson away from her.

The bystander then held Watson at gun point until the police arrived. The victim continues in her recovery.


8-06-2008
On August 6, 2008, John Fitzgerald Myles, age 41, plead guilty to the crimes of gratification of lust and sexual battery and received a combined sentence of fifty years in prison. Myles, a Jackson resident, admitted to molesting his girlfriend’s thirteen year old child and sexually penetrating her fourteen year old child.

Myles had been previously convicted of sexually molesting his own fifteen year old daughter in 2002. Myles conviction and sentence is confirmation of District Attorney Robert Smith’s pledge to keep the citizens of Hinds County safe from violent crime.
District Attorney Robert Smith stated that the depravity of Myles crime demanded a maximum sentence and the community can be secure that he will not be able to harm any other children. Myles will not be eligible to be released from prison until the year 2058.

 


Hinds County District Attorney's Office
PO Box 22747 - Jackson Mississippi 39225-2747
Phone:  601-968-6568  |  FAX:  601-968-6655
 

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