More from Staff Writer Melanie Addington’s interview with Damien Echols, one of the “West Memphis Three” released from prison in August 2011 after entering an Alford Plea in their case from the 1993 killing of three boys in West Memphis, Ark., and the author of the book, “Life After Death.” Echols will be at Off Square Books on Tuesday to sign copies of the book. (more…) (May 9, 2013)
During a heated cross examination of Timothy Balducci by Scruggs’ attorney Edward “Chip” Robertson. Balducci said everyone involved in the Wilson v. Scruggs lawsuit on Scruggs’ team knew exactly what they were doing when they hired Ed Peters to be on their side and to dangle a federal judgeship in front of Judge DeLaughter and that was to get DeLaughter to rule in Scruggs’ favor. Robertson accused Balducci of getting his facts wrong when he failed to remember certain dates. Balducci said the events were six years ago and that he’s tried to put the past behind him.
Earlier in the day, former attorney and who was the lead attorney defending Scruggs in the Wilson v. Scruggs lawsuit took the stand as well as another part pf the Scruggs’ legal team, Stephen Funderburg. The day ended at about 3 p.m. Judge Glen Davidson is giving both sides 14 days to submit closing arguments in written form and any related briefs. Davidson will make a ruling sometime afterward. (March 27, 2012)
Court began at 9 a.m. this morning with Steven H. Funderburg taking the stand. Funderburg and his partner Johnny Jones worked with Scruggs in the lawsuit Wilson v. Scruggs. At 10 a.m., former attorney Joey Langston, who was lead council in the Wilson v. Scruggs case, took the stand. Langston testified that it was wrong to ask former Hinds County Prosecutor Ed Peters to hold ex parte communications with DeLaughter and that by doing so, it gave Scruggs and him an advantage in the lawsuit. He will go back on the stand this afternoon at 1 p.m. (March 27, 2012)
Opening statements began at 10 a.m. this morning at the Federal Courthouse in Oxford in the case of Richard “Dickie” Scruggs v. USA. Scruggs, who is currently serving a seven-year sentence in prison for two judicial bribery cases, is seeking to vacate the second of those convictions.
Scruggs is claiming he is actually innocent of the charge he pleaded guilty to before Senior Judge Glen Davidson three years ago based on a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court last year in the case U.S. v. Skilling.
Prosecutors say Scruggs used his relationship with retired Sen. Trent Lott to influence then-Circuit Court Judge Bobby DeLaughter for favorable rulings in a lawsuit against him.
Prosecutor Bob Norman stated “DeLaughter had two weaknesses, one being his relationship with his mentor and friend, Ed Peters and the other his thirst for becoming a federal judge.”
Lott testified for about an hour this morning. He told the court he did in fact call DeLaughter after Scruggs had contacted him and asked Lott to call DeLaughter to explain the process of how a federal court judgeship is appointed. However, Lott said he never told DeLaughter he was under consideration for the position and only explained the process to him. Lott also testified that Scruggs never asked him to consider DeLaughter and that he was never aware that Scruggs had a case before DeLaughter at the time.
Davidson broke for lunch at 11:45. Testimony will continue at 1:15 this afternoon.
(March 26, 2012)
Blog: A female juror openly wept as Circuit Court Judge Andrew Howorth read the jury’s verdict sentencing Caleb Corrothers to the death sentence.
Corrothers was convicted Thursday night of killing Frank and Taylor Clark and wounding Tonya Clark in July 2009 in the Clark’s home off Bell River Road.
Corrothers was out on parole for six weeks when he killed the Clarks, apparently over drugs and money. He has served 10 years in prison on four counts of armed robbery.
Defense attorneys tried to convince the jury that Corrothers’ bad childhood, living in poverty and without a father figure, set him on a path that led him to the courtroom facing the death penalty. The state told the jury it was just excuses and that Corrothers should be held responsible for the choices he’s made. (May 20, 2011)
Blog: The jury went into deliberations at about 5 p.m. and are still out deciding whether Caleb Corrothers will be put on death row or spend the rest of his life in prison.
The jury heard testimony from Corrother’s former teacher and a psychologist this afternoon before both sides rested around 3 p.m. Circuit Court Judge Andrew Howorth gave jury instructions and then Assistant District Attorney Ben Creekmore presented the closing arguments for the state while Kelsey L. Rushing with the Mississippi Office of the Capital Defense Counsel presented arguments for the defense. (May 20, 2011)
Blog: Vonda Corrothers Agulanna asked the jury this morning to spare her son’s life during the sentencing phase of his trial. Caleb Corrothers was found guilty of two counts of capital murder Thursday night for shooting and killing Frank and Taylor Clark in July 2009.
Vonda told the jury she wasn’t able to do for her kids the way she would have liked due to a serious bought of depression when Caleb was a young child. She said Caleb’s father was never in the picture he grew up in a bad neighborhood around drug dealers with no father figure.
Caleb’s brother, Marcus Corrothers also spoke at the hearing. Marcus is serving a 20-year-sentence for armed robber. He made no pleas for his brother’s life. He said he felt Caleb followed in his footsteps and looked up to him since he was six years older than Caleb.
The state revealed Caleb has just gotten out of prison after a 10-year-sentence for armed robbery when he shot and killed the Clarks.
Tonya Clark, who was shot in the neck twice by Corrothers, said she has a large void in her life since losing her son and husband.
Both mothers cried openly while on the witness stand. Agulanna spoke to Tonya and the Clark family sitting in the courtroom. Sobbing, she said she was very sorry for what happened to them and empathized with Tonya about losing a son.
More testimony is expected this afternoon on Corrother’s past and personality. (May 20, 2011)