By BRIAN HAWKINS
Starkville Daily News
Some 238 criminal suspects are scheduled for trial, hearings or docket call during the fall term of Oktibbeha County Circuit Court that begins Monday.
The court term will run the next three weeks. Court will convene for a full five days this week, two days next week and then another five days the following week
Circuit Judges Lee Howard and Jim Kitchens are both scheduled to be on the bench during the term.
Cases involving narcotics or felony alcohol offenses comprise more than 44 percent of the total case docket, with 104 cases scheduled for the court term.
Cases involving property crimes also comprise nearly 32 percent of the court docket, with 77 total cases scheduled. Violent crimes and sex crimes make up more than 24 percent of the total docket, with 57 scheduled cases.
Citizens interested in court proceedings should note that just because certain cases are scheduled for hearing or trial on certain days, other court activities and proceedings may necessitate cases being bumped from the daily docket until later in the court term or to a future court term in the fall or winter.
A reminder for jury duty
Oktibbeha County Circuit Court officials want to remind registered voters who are summoned for jury duty this week to be present at the Courthouse Annex this morning.
The reminder comes after problems in previous court terms with residents summoned for jury duty failing to appear in Circuit Court.
The only excuses for being relieved of jury duty are medical reasons, being over age 65 or having personal hardship. A personal hardship that would excuse a person from jury duty means a person owns his or her own business and would have to close in order to serve, not being off from work.
One common problem court officials have encountered in the past is that many residents do not open the jury summons sent to them by mail, said Circuit Clerk Angie McGinnis.
"We have to be able to seat jury panels as necessary for Circuit Court proceedings," McGinnis said.
Any residents who do not report at the designated time Monday for jury duty forfeit any pay they would have received for the day, McGinnis said.
"People summoned for jury duty need to now that if they do not show up, they can be held by the judge in contempt of court and be subject to being fined or imprisoned at the judge's discretion," McGinnis said.
Anyone with questions about a jury summons or jury duty requirements can call the Circuit Clerk's Office at 323-1356.
Because of construction of the new Oktibbeha County School District administrative building adjacent to the Courthouse Annex, portions of the parking lot have been shut off from public access.
Those reporting for jury duty are asked to park at nearby Griffin United Methodist Church on West Main Street through an arrangement court officials have made with church leaders. The church is located less than a block from the Courthouse Annex.
Those not visiting the Courthouse Annex for official business are also asked to park elsewhere in the downtown area, McGinnis said.
Major cases on the Circuit Court docket
Multiple armed robbery and aggravated assault cases are scheduled for trial during the summer Oktibbeha County Circuit Court term that opens Monday
Citizens interested in court proceedings should note that just because certain cases are scheduled for hearing or trial on certain days, other court proceedings may mean that cases being bumped from the daily docket until later in the court term or to a future court term in the fall or winter.
Here is a glance at some of the more prominent cases scheduled for action for the Circuit Court term:
• A Sturgis man charged with capital murder in the Sept. 28, 2008, shootings of two people — one fatally — is scheduled for a hearing on Tuesday.
Archie Quinn, 49, of 3233 Craig Springs Road, Sturgis, is charged with fatally shooting Stacy M. Gray, 35, of 3223 Craig Springs Road, Sturgis, and wounding Terry Johnson, 45, at the latter's home on West Sand Creek Road.
According to a written statement released by the Oktibbeha County Sheriff's Department at the time, deputies were called to Johnson's home at 6:51 a.m. the day in question after receiving a report of gunshots being fired.
As they were en route to Johnson home, deputies confronted Quinn near West Sand Creek Road. Quinn got out of his vehicle in the roadway, walked to the back of it and shot himself in the head, according to the Sheriff's Department statement.
Quinn later recuperated at a Jackson hospital.
• Leslie Sharp, 22, is scheduled to stand trial Nov. 1 on a murder charge in the Nov. 10, 2008 shooting death of Christopher Cole, 20, of Mathiston, outside a home on Kelly Road in northeast Oktibbeha County.
Sharp was originally scheduled to be tried Aug. 2, but the trial was postponed due to the unavailability of a witness.
On the night of the fatal shooting, Cole died at the Kelly Road home from multiple gunshot wounds, though attempts were made by Oktibbeha County Hospital paramedics and East Oktibbeha volunteer firefighters to revive him, said Coroner Michael Hunt the day after the incident.
• An Oktibbeha County woman will face trial on a murder charge in the fatal shooting of her husband while he was hunting early one late November 2009 morning.
Varina Marie Childs, 37, of 3875 Jeff Peay Road, will stand trial Nov. 1 for murder in the Nov. 22, 2009, shooting death of her husband Douglas Marion Childs, 32.
Douglas Childs' body was found shortly after 7 a.m. the day he died about 30 feet inside a wooded area off Hawkins Road in western Oktibbeha County. The area where he was found is located a short distance from the Oktibbeha-Choctaw county line.
Mr. Childs died from a single gunshot wound to the heart, according to results of an autopsy conducted by pathologists at the Mississippi Crime Laboratory in Jackson on Monday that Sheriff Dolph Bryan made public at the time of Mrs. Childs' arrest three days after the fatal shooting.
Sheriff's deputies had verified that Mr. Childs was hunting in the Hawkins Road area early Sunday morning, as were several others.
• Six teenagers are scheduled for trial on individual charges of armed robbery in Nov. 16, 2008, assault of a local man who was exercising at the city's Sportsplex on Lynn Lane.
Joshua Norman, 16, of 509 Pueblo Drive; Antoniyo Macon, 16, of 106 Yellowjacket Drive; John Robert Bell, 16, of 1426 Louisville St.; Michael Brown Jr., 18, of 662 W. Garrard Road; Jardez L. Johnson, 17, of 309 Reed Road, Apt. 1113; and Malcolm T. Reidout, 17, of 135 Sand Road, Apt. 104 are scheduled for trial at various times in the court term.
In the incident, the man was walking in the south end of the Sportsplex property as part of a regular exercise regimen when he came upon two teenage black males coming out of the restrooms at a concession stand.
After looking at them, he turned and began walking the other way, only to be attacked by several males seconds later, including being struck on the head with a glass bottle.
• Two half-brothers are scheduled for trial on individual armed robbery charges in connection with the Oct. 30, 2009, shooting of a 30-year-old Starkville man outside his North Montgomery Street apartment.
Kenyon Derrell "Smoke" Cannon, 29, of 141 Pilkington Park, is scheduled for trial Nov. 1, and Roderick "Bam Bam" Franklin, 30, of 200 Catherine St. is scheduled for trial on Wednesday.
The shooting incident in which the two are charged was reported to police shortly after 11 p.m. the day of the incident when the victim, whose name they have not released amid concerns for his safety, attempted to flag down passing cars on North Montgomery Street and a concerned motorist called E-911 operators.
Though walking and talking, the man was bleeding heavily and had attempted to get help by knocking on doors of nearby homes to no avail, said Starkville Police Department detectives following the shooting.
The man had been shot in the head, shoulder and neck and other areas of the upper body with a .380-caliber handgun, police said.