Crawford man sentenced to life in prison for 2014 stabbing

James Carskadon
Staff Writer

Akeem Rasheed, 46, of Crawford, will spend the rest of his life in prison after he was found guilty of aggravated assault and burglary of a dwelling in relation to a 2014 stabbing on Central Avenue in Starkville.
An Oktibbeha County Circuit Court jury spent approximately one hour deliberating on Wednesday before returning and issuing a guilty verdict on both the aggravated assault and burglary counts.
Because Rasheed was convicted of a violent felony and had previous felony convictions, one of which was violent, Circuit Court Judge Lee Howard had no option but to sentence Rasheed to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Because the charges included two counts, he was sentenced to two terms of life in prison that will run concurrently. Rasheed, who did not show much emotion while the verdict or sentence was read, said he plans to appeal the guilty verdict.
The trial, which spanned three days, marked the first criminal jury trial for new District Attorney Scott Colom, who took office in January.
“I feel like justice was done and I’m glad that the system worked,” Colom said after the trial. “We were able to prosecute someone who committed two violent crimes.”
On July 29, 2014, Rasheed was arrested by Starkville Police Department officers shortly after a reported stabbing at a Central Avenue apartment complex in north Starkville. According to witness testimony, Rasheed and victim Michael Randle got into a fight at the home of Rasheed’s then-girlfriend.
On the night of his arrest, Rasheed admitted to stabbing Randle in the back during the altercation in a taped interview with a Starkville Police Department detective. In court on Tuesday, Rasheed denied stabbing Randle.
On the night of the incident, Rasheed was found walking north on Jackson Street carrying a plastic bag that contained clothes and a knife. That evidence, as well as Rasheed’s 2014 confession, was presented to the jury during the trial.
Assistant District Attorney Marc Amos also led the prosecution of Rasheed, with the assistance of Investigator Steven Woodruff.
“They dotted every I and crossed every T,” Colom said. “I was able to just come in there and pinch hit. It was a great experience.”
Rasheed’s indictment was amended to reflect his prior convictions on charges of grand larceny and armed robbery, which caused him to be sentenced as a habitual offender. Because the 2014 stabbing was a violent crime, Mississippi law requires that he receive a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The defendant’s attorney, Ben Lang, told the court on Monday that Rasheed was offered an unspecified plea deal but declined the offer and elected to move forward with a jury trial.