District Attorney W. Dewayne Richardson announced this week that Dyana Thomas pled guilty Tuesday, July 20th, and was sentenced on July 23rd, in Leflore County Circuit Court to the charge of sexual battery against a student while he was an assistant principal at Holmes County Central High School.
Thomas’s trial was set for July 21st in Leflore County before Judge Richard Smith, but Thomas instead chose to enter an open plea to the crime of Sexual Battery and have a sentencing hearing in front of Judge Smith. After hearing from the victim, the victim’s father, and the Defendant as well as hearing arguments from the State and the Defense, Judge Smith sentenced Thomas to 30 years with the Mississippi Department of Corrections. The first 15 of those years will be served day-for-day behind bars and the remainder of the time to be suspended upon completion of 5 years post-release supervision. Thomas’s plea also requires that he be registered as a convicted sex offender for the rest of his life when he is released from MDOC custody.
This case began in May of 2019, when the Leflore County Sheriff’s Department received information from the Holmes County Sheriff’s Department that there was a potential molestation case that occurred in Leflore County in April of 2019. During his investigation, Investigator Baldwin with the Leflore County Sheriff’s Department discovered that Thomas picked up the minor victim in Cruger, Mississippi, and transported her to Leflore County to engage in sexual acts.
Additionally, his investigation led him to identify Dyana Thomas as an assistant principal at Holmes County Central High School and the victim as a 17-year-old junior who was a student at that same school. Based on the information obtained during the course of the investigation, the charges were upgraded from molestation to sexual battery by a person in a position of trust or authority.
The case against Thomas was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Amanda Sturniolo Langford who expressed her appreciation for the hard work done by the Sheriff’s Department as well as the patience of the victim and her family during the judicial process. She also stated, “This has been one of the most egregious cases that I have worked on since starting with the District Attorney’s Office because of the Defendant’s blatant abuse of authority over a child that he was entrusted to educate. While we cannot erase what happened, I hope that we have given the victim some closure. Without her and her family’s help and patience, we could not have been able to catch this predator and protect future students from being groomed and manipulated by him.”