Greenville, MS—John Scates, Jr. was sentenced to Twenty-Five (25) years to serve in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections following a sentencing hearing for his conviction of Aggravated Assault with a Firearm Enhancement, District Attorney Dewayne Richardson announced today.
A Washington County trial jury announced its guilty verdicts earlier this year in May following a two day trial at the Washington County Convention Center. At trial, witnesses testified to the events surrounding the October 2017 shooting at Greenville Imports. According to the witnesses, Henry Bates had traveled to the car lot to speak with Scates about following through on a business deal the two had previously arranged. An argument ensued and a heated Scates shot Bates in the back just as Bates had turned to walk away. Following the Aggravated Assault, Scates made several claims in an attempt to justify his actions—chief among them being that Bates had made a sudden movement while turned sideways and also that after the shooting, an associate of Bates took a gun from Bates and away from the scene. The bullet wound in the center of Bates’ back and the testimony of the treating physician proved that Bates had turned away with his back to Scates. Witness testimony and the recorded 911 calls contradicted Scates’ claim that Bates’ associate took a gun from Bates following the shooting. The trial also revealed that Scates had given different versions of the shooting on multiple occasions—each time adding information that bolstered his claims. In the end, the jury voted to convict.
Scates was convicted of Aggravated Assault with a Firearm Enhancement. Aggravated Assault is punishable by up to twenty (20) years and the firearm enhancement carries a mandatory five (5) year penalty. After hearing from several witnesses, Senior Circuit Judge Ashley Hines sentenced the defendant to twenty (20) years to serve for Aggravated Assault and five (5) years to serve for the Firearm Enhancement to begin after the sentence for the underlying crime of Aggravated Assault.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Kaylon McCou and Austin Frye. “The defendant’s continued fabrication of events that were clearly debunked by the evidence and his personal and irrelevant attacks against the victim at trial and the sentencing hearing evinced his complete lack of remorse. There appeared to be no concern for the gravity of his actions then or now and, in my estimation, he left the Court little choice but to impose the maximum,” McCou added. The Office of The District Attorney hopes that Mr. Bates can feel some sense of closure, though the mental and physical toll of the shooting will undoubtedly remain.
DA Richardson added that the District Attorney’s Office appreciates the swift actions of the Greenville Police Department. It was because of the care and concern shown from dispatchers to responding officers to investigators that this case was solved in a diligent and effective manner.