Purvis Resident Arrested for Possession of Child Pornography

August 3, 2016
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Attorney General Jim Hood announced today that a Purvis man has been arrested and charged with one count of child exploitation.

Jonathan Thomas Davis, 18, was arrested Tuesday at his home by investigators with the Attorney General’s Cyber Crime Unit. Investigators executed a search warrant at the defendant’s home following an investigation of online activity.

Davis was booked into the Forrest County Detention Center. If convicted, he faces up to 40 years in prison and a $500,000 fine. As with all cases, a charge is merely an accusation, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

This case will be prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Brandon Ogburn of the Attorney General’s Cyber Crime Unit.


Jackson Man Arrested for Conspiracy and Bribery of Public Official

August 1, 2016
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Attorney General Jim Hood announced today that a Jackson man was arrested Friday for bribery of a public official and conspiracy following a joint investigation by the Attorney General’s Office and the FBI.

Robert Henderson, 44, is accused of offering a former Hinds County assistant district attorney $500 in exchange for dismissal of charges against three criminal defendants. Henderson is charged with one count of bribery of a public official and one count of conspiracy to bribe a public official. Henderson was booked into the Hinds County Jail. Hinds County Justice Court Judge Frank Sutton set Henderson’s bond at $5,000 for bribery of a public official and $5,000 for conspiracy for a total of $10,000.

Henderson is alleged to have offered the bribe to then-Hinds County Assistant DA Ivon Johnson on or about  June 15 of this year. Henderson is accused of seeking Johnson’s assistance in having cases dismissed involving three criminal defendants.

As with all cases, a charge is merely an accusation, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.


Meridian Resident Going to Prison for Sexual Battery of a Vulnerable Person

July 29, 2016

Attorney General Jim Hood announced today that a Lauderdale County man has been sentenced to prison after being convicted of sexual battery of a vulnerable person.

LaCarlos Presswood, 36, of Meridian, pleaded guilty Thursday in Lauderdale County Circuit Court to one count of sexual battery of a vulnerable person. Circuit Judge Lester F. Williamson Jr. sentenced Presswood to 20 years in prison with 10 of those years suspended, leaving Presswood with 10 years to serve. Because of the nature of the crime, he is required to be imprisoned for all 10 of those years. The prison sentence will be followed by five years of supervised probation. He was ordered to pay all court costs and assessments when he is released from custody. Additionally, he must register as a sex offender upon his release.

Presswood was indicted last November and accused of the sexual battery of an adult male patient at the East Mississippi State Hospital, where Presswood was employed at the time as a direct-care worker.

“We owe it to the most vulnerable among us to seek justice when those vulnerable individuals are victims of abuse,” Attorney General Hood said. “To prey upon a patient at a state hospital is heinous and inexcusable. I appreciate Judge Williamson for his sentence and the investigators who worked to hold this man responsible for his crime.”

The case was investigated by Trey Rogers of the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Garland Lyell.

 


Marks Man Charged for First-Degree Murder

July 29, 2016
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Attorney General Jim Hood announced a Quitman County man has been formally charged with first-degree murder in connection with the April 2015 killing of Antonio Jackson of Lambert.

Alonzo Buggs, Jr., 37, of Marks, was indicted by a Quitman County grand jury for murder in the shooting death of Jackson, 26, in a Marks retail store parking lot. Buggs was also charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm, a .40-caliber semi-automatic pistol.

Buggs was indicted as a habitual offender, meaning he must be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole if he is convicted of either charge.  A charge is merely an accusation, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

This case was investigated by agents of the Mississippi Bureau of Investigations and Attorney General’s Investigator Larry Ware of the Public Integrity Division.  It will be prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Stan Alexander.


Jackson Man Going to Prison for Possession of a Firearm, Cocaine and Receiving Stolen Property

July 26, 2016
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Attorney General Jim Hood announced today that a Hinds County man has been sentenced to prison after pleading guilty to multiple felony charges.

Marcus Randall, 34, pleaded guilty Monday in Hinds County Circuit Court to one count of felon in possession of a firearm, one count of possession of cocaine and one count of receiving stolen property.

Circuit Judge Jeff Weill, Sr., sentenced Randall to 18 years in prison, with five of those years suspended, followed by three years of post-release supervision. Randall was also ordered to pay $500 to the Mississippi Crime Victim Compensation Fund.

Randall was arrested in September 2013 after deputies with the Hinds County Sheriff’s Office executed a search warrant at Randall’s residence following an anonymous tip. The search led to the discovery of two stolen riding lawnmowers, nearly two grams of cocaine and two .38-caliber revolvers.

This case was investigated by the Hinds County Sheriff’s Office with assistance by Investigator Perry Tate of the Attorney General’s Public Integrity Division.  Prosecution was handled by Assistant Attorney General Stanley Alexander after a recusal by the Hinds County District Attorney’s Office.


Greenville Resident Arraigned on Multiple Charges

July 19, 2016
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Attorney General Jim Hood announced today that an 18-year-old Greenville man has been formally charged with auto burglary, aggravated assault and possessing a stolen firearm.

Kordell Harper was indicted in June by a Washington County grand jury on three counts of auto burglary, one count of aggravated assault, one count of shooting into an occupied dwelling and one count of possession of a stolen firearm. He was arraigned Monday in Washington County Circuit Court before Judge Ashley Hines.

According to the indictment, Harper broke into a 2014 Honda Accord on Dec. 14 of last year, intending to steal items inside the vehicle. Additionally, Harper allegedly broke into a 2012 Toyota Camry and 2015 Nissan Altima on December 23. The defendant is accused of discharging a gun into a residence in an attempt to shoot a man who was inside the dwelling. The .38-caliber revolver used in the shooting had been reported stolen, the indictment stated.

Harper remains in custody at the Washington County Jail. If convicted, he faces the sentences of 21 years in prison for auto burglary, 20 years for aggravated assault, 10 years for shooting in an occupied dwelling and five years for possessing a stolen firearm.

A charge is merely an accusation, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The case was investigated by the Greenville Police Department with assistance from Investigator Roger Wade of the Attorney General’s Public Integrity Division. Prosecution will be handled by Assistant Attorney General Stanley Alexander.


AG Hood Issues Statement on Decision Not to Appeal Injunction in HB1523 Lawsuit

July 13, 2016
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After careful review of the law, and the social and fiscal impacts of HB 1523, I have decided not to appeal the Federal Court’s injunction in this case against me. I am convinced that continuing this divisive and expensive litigation is not in the best interests of the state of Mississippi or its taxpayers.

First, both HB 1523’s critics and supporters acknowledge that the bill did not change state or federal law. For example, there is no state law requiring pastors to marry same-sex couples, and I doubt that the Legislature would ever pass one.  Moreover, the Mississippi Legislature has already passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act which protects a person’s right to exercise his or her religious beliefs.  HB 1523’s critics and supporters also recognize that HB 1523 cannot overturn or preempt federal law.  As acknowledged by our Governor, HB 1523 is not a defense to a federal lawsuit.

Simply stated, all HB 1523 has done is tarnish Mississippi’s image while distracting us from the more pressing issues of decaying roads and bridges, underfunding of public education, the plight of the mentally ill and the need to solve our state’s financial mess.

Instead of focusing on these critical issues, our state leaders have given away the store by handing tax breaks to big corporations that neither need nor deserve them. Due to the leadership’s corporate handouts, corporations have paid $117.8 million less in taxes in FY2016 than FY2015, according to the Legislative Budget Office.  That is a 16 percent tax cut for big corporations in one year. These corporate tax cuts will conservatively increase to at least $181 million during this fiscal year, according to LBO. In addition to the $56 million legislative “mistake”, at least another $79 million will not be available next year, for a bare minimum of a $135 million budget hole. The numbers do not lie that we have a budget crisis that will cause a danger to our families from the mentally ill problem alone.

Second, to appeal HB 1523 and fight for an empty bill that dupes one segment of our population into believing it has merit while discriminating against another is just plain wrong. I don’t believe that’s the way to carry out Jesus’ primary directives to protect the least among us and to love thy neighbor.

But make no mistake, the Office of Attorney General is prepared to protect religious freedoms and defend our First Amendment rights if and when the facts so justify in future cases.

Public employees, including elected officials, have an unspoken contract with the state to follow the law. Misinformation that, without HB 1523, pastors, churches, bakers, wedding planners or other private service providers will be forced to violate their religious beliefs has been used repeatedly to frighten our citizens into supporting the dogmatic politicians who use religion for political gain.

In the event that the Federal Court’s injunction were overturned on appeal, this litigation would not end. These cases would be set for a full evidentiary trial.  Other challenges would likely be filed.  The state would face years of additional and expensive litigation over HB 1523’s implementation.  My office is already spending its limited resources defending numerous lawsuits challenging recent bills enacted by the Legislature regarding abortion restrictions, MAEP funding, Planned Parenthood funding, the Jackson-Evers International Airport and charter schools. In addition, my office will continue to try to serve the families of homicide victims as well as surviving victims of domestic violence, human trafficking and other violent crimes, including our injured law enforcement officers, firefighters and first responders. We will attempt to do all of this as the Legislature hands out ill-advised tax cuts to corporations, runs a budget deficit, slashes funding for this office and other state agencies, and cuts critical services to citizens.

I will, however, continue to monitor the lawsuits regarding HB 1523 and may appeal the federal court’s June 27 decision to reopen the closed same-sex marriage case depending on the wording of the Court’s final order.  I don’t believe a federal court had jurisdiction to extend the previous injunction to all circuit clerks who were not parties.


Jackson Man Going to Prison for Accessory Before the Fact to Burglary

July 8, 2016
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A Hinds county man has been sentenced to prison after pleading guilty to being an accessory before the fact to burglary, announced Attorney General Jim Hood.

Luscious Perkins, 36, of Jackson, was sentenced Thursday by Hinds County Circuit Court Judge Tommie Green. Judge Green sentenced Perkins to 15 years in prison, with five of those years suspended, followed by three years of post-release supervision.

At the time of the crime in November 2013, Perkins loaned a crowbar to another individual who used it to break into the home of Tony Brown of Jackson. The break-in led to the murder of Brown. There was no evidence that linked Perkins to the homicide, nor was he present at the home at the time of the homicide.

”We appreciate the strong efforts and brave work of the Jackson Police Department, which continuously fights to put criminals behind bars every day in the city of Jackson,” Attorney General Jim Hood said. “We also thank Judge Green for the sentence.”

This case was investigated by the Jackson Police Department with assistance by Investigator Perry Tate of the Attorney General’s Public Integrity Division.  Prosecution was handled by Assistant Attorney General Stanley Alexander after the recusal of the Hinds County District Attorney’s Office.