The Mississippi Supreme Court has overturned the conviction of a former University of Mississippi student who was sentenced to life in prison for killing his girl friend in 2005.
David Jackson Williams was convicted in 2007 of killing Demetria Bracey, also a former Ole Miss student, with a knife and leaving her body in a closet for four days. Williams claimed Bracey stabbed herself as part of a suicide pact, however, he failed to go through with the act himself.
The Supreme Court ordered a new trial for Williams in a 5-4 decision Wednesday. The court ruled the trial judge, Circuit Court Judge Andrew Howorth, erred by refusing to give the jury the option of finding Williams guilty of assisted suicide. (November 10, 2010, Page 1)
The retirement party for the Honorable Circuit Court Judge Henry L. Lackey was suppose to be a “roast and toast” event. While many of the speeches made by about 16 people about the Calhoun County judge caused a few chuckles — and even a few tears, it was Lackey himself who invoked rounds of hearty laughter as he lovingly roasted them in return.
He announced his intent to retire at a Christmas party in 2009. His term will end Dec. 31. About 300 people attended Lackey’s retirement party Thursday at the Oxford Conference Center. (November 5, 2010, Page 1A)
The Lafayette County Board of Supervisors instructed county attorney David O’Donnell to file an appeal with the Mississippi Supreme Court against a final order given by a Circuit Court judge instructing them to not interfere with the operation of the county’s Drug Court.
The one-page appeal, filed Tuesday, says the supervisors are appealing the entire Final Order filed Sept. 21 by Circuit Court Judge Andrew Howorth but doesn’t list any specific parts of the order. The appeal was filed after the board voted 3 to 2 granting O’Donnell permission to file the appeal during an executive session earlier this month. Supervisors Robert Blackmon and Mike Pickens were the dissenting votes.
Howorth, who started Drug Court three years ago, filed a “cease and desist” in June against the supervisors from interfering with the operations of the Drug Court and the Circuit Court in general. Howorth claims the supervisors have continually interfered with the operations of the Circuit Court, almost from the day the current board took office in 2008. He also ordered the supervisors to comply with all reasonable requests made by and on behalf of the Drug Court pertaining to Drug Court funds administered by Lafayette County. (October 21, 2010, Page 1)
Judge closes lawsuit against county
A lawsuit against former and current county officials claiming they railroaded former insurance agent Ken Nowlin into pleading guilty to crimes he didn’t commit, has been closed by a federal judge.
U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Aycock found in favor of the defendants and ordered the case closed.
UM former employee pleads
Ben Willians, a former employee of the University of Mississippi, pleaded guilty Friday for stealing more than $67,000 while working in the Dean of Students office, according to the indictment. He was sentenced to three years of unsupervised probation. (October 13, 2010, Page 2)
The man police say kept women in fear for more than three months after breaking into 11 homes and stealing their panties and other under garments was on probation at the time of his arrest for breaking into a woman’s home in 2005.
Joseph P. Lillo, 32, pleaded guilty in January 2006 to a charge of burglary of a dwelling before Circuit Court Judge Andrew Howorth in 2006. According to the indictment, filed in the Circuit Court in Oxford, Lillo broke into a women’s home on July 5, 2005.
The indictment does not say what Lillo stole.
He was sentenced to 20 years in prison with 12 years suspended, leaving eight years to serve. Yet less than four years later, Lillo was released from prison on Nov. 4, 2009, and placed on probation. (October 12, 2010, Page 1)
Attorney Josh Turner wanted to give back to the community where he was born and raised.
Now he has his chance.
On Monday, the Lafayette County Board of Supervisors approved hiring Turner to be the new public defender for the 3rd District Circuit Court, a position held for almost six years by attorney Ken Coghlan who resigned last month. (October 7, 2010, Page 5)
The last day to register to vote in the upcoming general election on Nov. 2 is this Saturday.
The Lafayette County Circuit Clerk’s Office will be open from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday to accommodate last-minute voter registrations.
Those wishing to vote absentee must have their ballots mailed in enough time for them to be at the Circuit Clerk’s Office by Nov. 1. The office will be open 8 a.m. to noon on Oct. 23 and Oct. 30 to allow voters to come in and vote absentee. (September 29, 2010, Page 1)
We just over a month away from mid-term elections which, around these part, include district circuit and chancery court judge races. Yes, that’s what the vast majority of campaign signs around the community are about. For those a little confused about who they can vote for, Editor Don Whitten gets a bit of help from the circuit clerk’s office. (September 27, 2010, Page 4A)
Like many judges around the country, Circuit Court Judge Andrew Howorth has had to start including warnings to jurors that as long as they are sitting on the jury, they can’t discuss the case on any social media outlet, such as Facebook, Myspace and Twitter. (July 26, 2010, Page 1)
Lafayette County Board of Supervisors approved a written response drafted by County Attorney David O’Donnell to a court order that instructed the board to cease and desist from interfering with business of the 3rd Circuit Drug Court. A copy of the letter has not been made available. (July 13, 2010, Page 2A)