An Oktibbeha man will have to serve the full 15 years of his sentence after the state Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court’s ruling on Tuesday finding him guilty of possession of contraband while in a correctional facility.
Michael Henderson, 47, was sentenced by Circuit Court Judge Lee Coleman as a non-violent habitual offender to serve 15 years in prison without eligibility for early release after a corrections officer at the Oktibbeha County Jail found Henderson to be in possession of a homemade knife or “shank” in Henderson’s cell.
According to court records, the officer asked Henderson if he had any contraband in his cell, to which he responded by pulling out a bundle of socks concealing the knife, which was identified as a sharpened piece of metal with a plastic-wrap handle.
At the time of the court’s decision, Henderson was serving a five-year sentence for possession of stolen property, in addition to the contraband charge.
Henderson claimed the shank was not his and said someone placed it under his mat while he was taking a shower and using the phone.
Oktibbeha County jurors, however, disagreed and found him guilty of possession of contraband in a correctional facility.
After examining the evidence, Henderson’s appellate counsel found no arguable issues for appeal.
In addition to the contraband charge, court records show Henderson was indicted on that count and a separate felony count of simple assault on a law enforcement officer after throwing hot coffee on a corrections officer at the Oktibbeha County Jail on Nov. 21, 2016.
Shortly thereafter, the shank was discovered on Dec. 14, 2016.
A jury found Henderson guilty on the contraband charge on Jan. 24, 2018 and sentenced him to 15 years as a non-violent habitual offender.
Along with the charges he is currently serving time for, Henderson had also been previously convicted of auto burglary and vehicle theft.
According to the Mississippi Department of Corrections, Henderson’s tentative release date is set for Sept. 12, 2031.