Starkville man pleads guilty to Westside Market stabbing


Jason Ellis, left, listens on in Oktibbeha County Circuit Court on Tuesday with his public defender Mark Williamson (Photo by Ryan Phillips, SDN) 

By: 
Ryan Phillips
SDN Editor

A Starkville man will serve five years in prison after entering a guilty plea to stabbing a man at a local convenience store last year. 

In Oktibbeha County Circuit Court on Tuesday, 36-year-old Jason Ellis pleaded guilty to stabbing Karl Baker with a knife on Oct. 5, 2017 at Westside Market in the 100 block of Westside Drive. 

According to Assistant District Attorney Trina Davidson-Brooks, the incident occurred after Baker picked up Ellis on Long Street. 

Baker was given money by Ellis for a ride to Mac’s Meat Market, but Baker instead took Ellis to Westside Market because it was “closer to his home.” 

Baker told investigators Ellis then became angry because he wanted to go to Mac’s Meat Market. An argument ensued and Ellis eventually stabbed Baker in the side with a knife.

The victim, despite suffering from a knife wound, was able to drive himself to OCH Regional Medical Center, where he received treatment for his injuries and was discharged the same day. 

Ellis was arrested shortly thereafter and charged with aggravated assault. He has been in jail since his arrest. 

According to court records, Ellis also had a prior felony conviction for selling cocaine. 

He was indicted by an Oktibbeha County Grand Jury on the aggravated assault charge in January. 

Before entering his guilty plea on Tuesday, Ellis expressed that he wanted another court-appointed defense attorney. He made the assertion that he did not have an affidavit present until he received his motion of discovery. 
Ellis also said he wrote the state Bar Association to complain about his representation. 

Circuit Court Judge Lee Coleman asked if he would be able to afford another attorney to replace public defender Mark Williamson, to which Ellis said he could not. 

“Everybody who comes to court, when they see that they’re going to have to serve some jail time, they suddenly decide they want another attorney,” Coleman commented. 

When asked how he would plea to the aggravated assault charge, Ellis, who has a seventh grade education, hesitated and did not answer. 

Judge Coleman then said the case would be set for trial on Wednesday and Ellis left the courtroom appearing to be willing to face a jury.  

Ellis returned about an hour later, though, prepared to enter his guilty plea. 

After pleading guilty to aggravated assault, Judge Coleman sentenced Ellis to a 10-year prison sentence, with five years to serve and five years suspended under post-release supervision. 

Aggravated assault in Mississippi carries a maximum 20-year prison sentence and a maximum fine of $10,000. 

Judge Coleman also ordered Ellis to pay restitution to the victim in the amount of $14,102.95, along with court costs. Ellis will not have to pay a fine, due to concerns about his ability to pay the large amount owed to the victim. 

As a condition of the plea bargain, a prior charge of possession of a weapon by a convicted felon was retired. 

OTHER CIRCUIT COURT CASES

Fredrick Stewart

On his 58th birthday, Fredrick Stewart had his one-year house arrest and post-release supervision sentence for DUI third offense revoked by Circuit Judge Jim Kitchens after it was determined he tampered with his court-mandated monitoring device and had a blood alcohol level of .168. 

Stewart, who has leukemia, will have to serve one year in prison, followed by four years of post-release supervision. 

He was indicted on the DUI charge in June 2017, and in May 2018 was sentenced to house arrest and post-release supervision. 

On May 28, Stewart failed a blood alcohol test. 

“Mr. Stewart, I can’t have you killing somebody,” Kitchens commented after handing down the sentence. 

Kelsye Freshour

Judge Coleman sentenced 39-year-old Kelsye Freshour to five years in prison, with two years to serve and three years post-release supervision after he pleaded guilty to hindering prosecution. 

In December 2015, Freshour was charged after investigators say he hid a friend, Jerry Bergeron, at his home after police were dispatched to a call from Bergeron’s girlfriend, who claimed she was assaulted. 

The District Attorney’s office said police then went to Freshour’s residence on Chisholm Drive in the Sunset community after the victim said Bergeron left the scene with Freshour. Once at the residence, investigators asked Freshour if Bergeron was there, before they heard a noise and found him inside. 

Both men were charged and Freshour was charged with hindering prosecution - a charge he was indicted on in July 2016. 

In addition to his time in prison, Freshour will have to pay a fine in the amount of $1,200, along with court costs. 

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