Lanelson Spells pleads Guilty to Second Degree Murder

Dewayne RichardsonBreaking News, Mississippi Delta DA 4th District

Greenwood, MS – In Leflore Circuit Court, Lanelson Spells, 26 yoa, pled guilty for the shooting death of Larry Stephens, 21 yoa at the time of his death, District Attorney Dewayne Richardson announced today. Spells had been indicted by the April 2017 Leflore County grand jury for the charge of First Degree Murder that stemmed from the August 25, 2016 shooting.

This case stemmed from deputies with the Leflore County Sheriff’s Department being called by a concerned citizen in reference to a shot victim laying in front of a vacant house on Ruth Circle in Leflore County. Officers of the Leflore County Sheriff’s Department responded only to find the lifeless body of Larry Stephens. Investigators learned during the course of their investigation that Stephens died from a single gunshot wound to the chest.

Spells was later arrested by the Leflore County Sheriff’s Department and charged with First Degree Murder after he was identified by an eye-witness as the shooter. Spells was scheduled to go on trial for the offense of First Degree Murder on tomorrow but Spells pled guilty to the lesser included offense of Second Degree Murder today. The penalty in the State of Mississippi for Second Degree Murder is Life if given by the jury, or a minimum of 20 years to a maximum of 40 years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections.

Spells was sentenced to the State’s recommendation of 30 years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections. Spells will serve the first 25 years in prison without any opportunity for early release or parole. Spells will then serve the last 5 years of his sentence on Post Release Supervision.

ADA Tim Jones, who prosecuted this case states, “The District Attorney’s Office and Staff will continue to work tirelessly with all Law Enforcement Agencies to ensure justice for victims, their families, and this community. I would like to thank the Leflore County Sheriff’s Department for their efforts in solving this heinous crime.” District Attorney Richardson added that, “the District Attorney’s office hopes that the family of Larry Stephens receive some sense of relief and begin the process of healing knowing that the Spells has had to answer for Stephens’ death.”

Contact: W. Dewayne Richardson District Attorney, Fourth Circuit Court District | 662-378-2105