Former Deputy Indicted for Shooting of Suspect During Arrest

March 27, 2015
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A former Bolivar County Sheriff’s Deputy has been arrested following indictment involving the shooting of a suspect during an arrest, confirmed Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Walter Grant was arrested Thursday by investigators with the Attorney General’s Public Integrity Division following indictment by a Bolivar County Grand Jury on charges of manslaughter.  The indictment alleges that Grant, while working at the Bolivar County Sheriff’s Office, unnecessarily  shot a suspect in the head while the man was attempting to avoid arrest.

The DA’s office recused itself from the case since it involved a local law enforcement officer.  The case is being investigated by the Attorney General’s Public Integrity Division and will be prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Marvin Sanders.

If convicted of the charge, Grant faces up to 20 years behind bars.  As with all cases, the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

 

 

 


Lincoln County Resident Indicted on Two Counts of Aggravated DUI

March 26, 2015
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A Lincoln County man has been indicted on two counts of aggravated DUI involving the death of two teenagers, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Charles W. Acy III, 18, of Brookhaven, was served capias today following indictment by a Lincoln County Grand Jury indicting him on two counts of Aggravated DUI which resulted in the death of two other teenagers.  Acy is alleged in the indictment to have been driving a vehicle under the influence of marijuana and/or  Xanax.  The vehicle driven by Acy collided with another vehicle on October 14, 2014.  Both occupants of the vehicle died as a result of the injuries sustained in the accident.

Acy is currently being held in the Lincoln County Jail under a one million dollar bond.  If convicted he faces incarceration ranging from two to 25 years per count.  As with all cases, the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt in a court of law.

This case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Jim Giddy of the Public Integrity Unit.


Fentanyl an Emerging Health and Public Safety Threat in Mississippi

March 26, 2015
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The federal Drug Enforcement Administration issued a warning last week on the number of overdose deaths caused by heroin laced with the potent prescription drug fentanyl. Attorney General Jim Hood and state Bureau of Narcotics Director Sam Owens want to warn those abusing opioid-based painkillers that heroin is a dead-end alternative due to its unregulated potency and especially when it is laced with fentanyl.

Some heroin dealers are lacing their heroin with fentanyl to make it more potent. When heroin addicts inject the same amount of their regular heroin doses as heroin laced with fentanyl, they often overdose and die.

Authorities say fentanyl, a highly regulated narcotic used as part of anesthesia to help prevent pain after surgery or other medical procedure, is the most potent opioid available for medical treatment. It is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine and 30 to 50 times more potent than heroin.

“There were 154 drug overdose deaths reported to the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics in 2014.  Of the total, eight involved fentanyl,” said Director Owens.

Attorney General Hood stated: “I have watched Kentucky, Florida and other states battle to stop the abuse of prescription painkillers. When painkiller addicts couldn’t get primarily opioid-based painkillers, they turned to heroin. The heroin overdose death rates climbed even higher because there is no standard for potency in the illegally manufactured drug market. I hope we can stop this threat before it gets a foothold in our state.”

Last year the MBN had only four fentanyl cases that totaled fewer than 200 dosage units among them. “The cases involved transdermal patches, which sell on the illicit market for approximately $50 per patch,” said Director Owens.

“Because the drug is easily absorbed into the skin and can be accidentally inhaled as airborne powder, it is a serious threat to law enforcement officers involved in undercover operations,” said Attorney General Hood.

Authorities say the high cost and low availability of some narcotics cause many opioid addicts to turn to other prescription drugs that offer similar effects. Hydrocodone, which is prescribed for severe pain, is a popular alternative.

“Even the most civic-minded persons can find themselves caught up in the addiction cycle after an accident and the use of certain prescription drugs,” Attorney General Hood warns. “I have seen veterans who were injured in Iraq get hooked on painkillers, such as Hydrocodone, to help kill the pain from their war injuries. When doctors stop prescribing the pills, some turn to heroin. I know one this happened to and he died of a heroin overdose.”

Mississippi’s prescription drug monitoring program shows physicians, in 2014, wrote more than two million prescriptions for Hydrocodone, with more than 100 million dosage units prescribed. “That’s nearly one prescription for every person in the state,” said Director Owens.

Attorney General Hood said, “Doctor shopping by pain pill addicts is a problem. The states of Kentucky and Florida passed legislation requiring that doctors must check the Prescription Drug Monitoring system online before prescribing primarily opioid -based painkillers. This lets doctors know whether the patient has had other doctors prescribe other medications during the same period. Our Legislature has not yet seen fit to put that burden on our doctors. Most doctors and pharmacists now have immediate access to a fully functioning Prescription Drug Monitoring system.  I think we will work out a solution to prevent addicts from doctor shopping for pain pills.”

Authorities say common signs of prescription drug abuse include requesting frequent refills, seeing two or more doctors for additional prescriptions, focusing on the drug more than anything else, extreme and sudden changes in social activities as well as mood swings. “If you suspect a loved one is getting hooked on a prescription drug, it’s important to immediately seek professional help,” said Attorney General Hood.


Former Madison County Resident Arrested for Medicaid Fraud

March 25, 2015
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A former Madison County resident has been arrested following indictment for Medicaid Fraud and Mail/Wire Fraud, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Theresa Lane Fisher, 46, formerly of Madison County, was arrested Tuesday by investigators with the Attorney General’s Office Medicaid Fraud Control Unit with assistance from the Madison County Sheriff’s Department.  Fisher was booked into the Madison County jail and posted a $35,000 bond.  The arrest followed Fisher’s indictment by the Madison County Grand Jury on four counts of Medicaid Fraud and three counts of Mail/Wire Fraud.

The defendant is accused in the indictment of falsely claiming to be a licensed physician’s assistant while working at a downtown Jackson medical clinic.    The total loss to the Medicaid program is alleged to be over $300,000.  If convicted, Fisher faces up to 35 years behind bars (five years on each count).  As with all cases, the charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The case is being investigated by and prosecuted by the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office Medicaid Control Fraud Unit.


Two Mississippi Residents Arrested for Credit Card Fraud

March 25, 2015
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Two Mississippi residents have been arrested for credit card fraud and related crimes, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Octaish Clay, 24, of Wesson and Michael Wade, 23, of Hazlehurst, were arrested Tuesday by investigators with the Attorney Generals Medicaid Fraud Control Unit following indictment by the Lincoln County Grand Jury.  Clay was indicted on four counts of credit card fraud, one count of uttering a forgery and two counts of conspiracy to utter a forgery. Wade was indicted on one count of uttering a forgery and two counts of conspiracy to utter a forgery.

At the time the crimes were committed, Clay, who was employed as a Certified Nursing Assistant at a living center in Brookhaven, allegedly stole checks and credit cards totaling $4,050 from a resident then used them with the assistance of Wade and others.

Clay and Wade were booked into the Lincoln County Jail with $25,000 bonds. If convicted, Clay faces up to 32 years behind bars and Wade faces up to 20 years behind bars. As with all cases, the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt in a court of law.

This case is being investigated and prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.


Hinds County Inmate Sentenced for Aggravated Assault While Behind Bars

March 24, 2015
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A Hinds County inmate has been sentenced for aggravated assault against a fellow inmate, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Brandon Jerrall Jernigan, 30, of Jackson, appeared before Hinds County Circuit Court Judge William Gowan Monday and was sentenced to aggravated assault for stabbing another inmate.   Judge Gowan sentenced Jernigan to 20 years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, 10 to serve, 10 suspended, with five years post-release supervision.

The assault took place at the Hinds County Detention Center. Jernigan and four other co-defendants, who were pre-trial detainees, stabbed another pre-trial detainee twenty-seven times.  The victim survived the attack and was able to identify his attackers.

This case was investigated by Perry Tate and prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Marvin Sanders of the Attorney General’s Public Integrity Division.


Philadelphia Woman Going to Prison for Exploitation of a Vulnerable Person

March 24, 2015
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A Philadelphia housekeeper is going to prison after pleading guilty to one count of exploitation of a vulnerable person, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.

Rosemary Stribling also known as Rosemary Carter, 39, appeared before Judge Marcus Gordon in Neshoba County Circuit Court Monday to be sentenced on charges she exploited the elderly victim for which she was hired to clean house.   Stribling admitted to taking money from the victims accounts to make purchases which resulted in a financial loss to the victim of approximately $2,006.56.  As a result, Stribling was sentenced to eight years in custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, six years suspended with two years to serve.  She was also ordered to pay full restitution to the victim and some fines.

“I hope this case serves as a warning that anyone found to be victimizing our most vulnerable residents will be held accountable,” said Attorney General Hood.

This case was investigated by Shannon Spence and prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Marvin Sanders with the Vulnerable Adults Unit of the Attorney General’s Public Integrity Division.


Michigan Woman and Mississippi Prisoner Charged with Producing Child Pornography

March 19, 2015
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A case being worked by the Attorney General’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force has resulted in charges against a Michigan woman and a man currently imprisoned in Mississippi.

Investigators with the Ecorse and Dearborn Michigan Police Departments Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force transferred a case involving a complaint of illegal images taken of a two year old child to the Mississippi ICAC Task Force under the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office.  The investigation by the Mississippi ICAC Unit led to federal warrants being served on Stephanie Rascoe, 44, a resident of Ecorse, Michigan and David Rhyne, 33, currently incarcerated in the East Mississippi Correctional Facility in Meridian.  The two are charged with production and distribution of child pornography for allegedly sharing illegal images via text message.  Rhyne also faces charges for possession of child pornography.  The alleged victim is a child entrusted occasionally to the care of Rascoe.

Rascoe was on a visit to Mississippi when she was arrested.  She has been booked into the Lee County jail.  Rhyne is currently serving time for sexual battery and was served in prison with the current federal warrant.  Both arrests occurred Wednesday.

“This case is the epitome of the work we do with our federal partners and our ICAC partners on a daily basis, “ said Attorney General Jim Hood.  “We greatly appreciate the work of the FBI, the U.S. Attorneys Office, the Mississippi Department of Corrections,  the Lee County Sheriff’s Department and the Ecorse and Dearborne Michigan Police Departments on this case.”

If convicted, the defendants face up to 20 years on production charges and 15 years on the distribution charges.  Rhyne faces up to 15 years for possession and an additional 10 years for being a convicted felon.   As with all cases, the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.