Holmes County Assistant Principal Sentenced for Sexual Battery of Student
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.”
SCATES, JR. SENTENCED TO MAXIMUM
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 […]... read more
WELLS SENTENCED TO TWENTY-FIVE YEARS IN PRISON
Greenville, MS—Geor’Barri Wells was sentenced to Twenty-Five (25) years to serve in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections stemming from his convictions for Second Degree Murder and Aggravated Assault, District Attorney Dewayne Richardson announced today. Wells was found [&hell... read more
DEFENDANT CONVICTED FOR SHOOTING MAN IN THE BACK
Greenville, MS—Geor’Barri Wells, 26, of Leland, was found Guilty of Second Degree Murder and Aggravated Assault Saturday in Washington County following a four-day jury trial. In the early morning hours of Thursday, May 10, 2018, officers of the Greenville Police […]... read more
JENNIFER YORK CONVICTED OF MANSLAUGHTER & CHILD NEGLECT
District Attorney W. Dewayne Richardson announced today that a Washington County Jury returned Guilty verdicts on six (6) criminal charges against Jennifer York on the evening of Wednesday, August 4, 2021. The trial, which began on Monday, August 2, was […]... read more
Sex Offender Registry
AG Victim Unit
The mission of the District Attorney’s Office for the Fourth Circuit Court, under the direction of
W. Dewayne Richardson, is to seek justice in order to maintain an environment of safety, security and lawful behavior for the citizens of the Fourth District.
The Office of the District Attorney uses lawful and reasonable methods to successfully identify and prosecute those who commit felony crimes. When a crime occurs, the Office of the District Attorney diligently pursues the indictment and conviction of those responsible, while adhering to all rights of the Victim, ensuring the victim is being provided all direct services applicable, and acknowledging all constitutional safeguards for the accused.
The District Attorney’s Office for the Fourth
District’s goal is to work with law enforcement and the judiciary to punish those who break our laws with adequate punishment. Every representative of the Office of the District Attorney pledges their commitment and full support to the protection of all citizens within the Fourth Circuit Court District.
P.O. Box 426
Greenville MS 38702
P.O. Box 1046
Indianola, MS 38751
P.O. Box 253
Greenwood, MS 38935
Citizen's Involvement in the criminal justice system typically begins with them being a victim, witness, or defendant of a crime. Arrests are made generally by a judge-issued warrant or by a police officer observing a crime in process. Law enforcement may also arrest someone if it has probable cause to believe the person committed a criminal offense. When individuals are arrested they are routinely advised of their Miranda Rights upon arrest, advising them that they have the right to remain silent and that anything they say will be used against them in court. On being questioned, defendants have the right to have their attorney present or to have one appointed if they are indigent.
Felony defendants appear at a first appearance and have the charges reviewed. A judge will inquire if the defendant has an attorney. If low income, the defendant may qualify for a court-appointed lawyer. No plea is entered at this time unless the defendant wishes to plead guilty or waives indictment and has an attorney present. All felony cases are presented to a grand jury in the county that the crime was committed. In the State of Mississippi, only a grand jury has the authority to indict an individual for a felony offense and require them to stand trial for the charges alleged in an affidavit and indictment.
If an indictment is issued, the defendant is bound over to stand trial or enter a guilty plea to the crimes alleged. When a criminal trial occurs all 12 jurors must find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Sentences are decided by Circuit Court Judges in all criminal matters. In most cases a recommendation is made regarding imprisonment, probation, fines and restitution.
Disclaimer of Liability
The information contained in this web site is provided for general informational purposes only and is not to be relied upon as legal advice. With respect to any information found on this web site, neither the Office of the District Attorney, 4th District, nor any of its employees, makes any warranty, express or implied, including the warranties of merchantability and aptness for a particular purpose, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the inaccuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information conveyed. Nothing contained in the Web site is intended to constitute a promise, expressed or implied, by the Office of the District Attorney, 4th District to engage in any undertaking. The Washington County District Attorney's Office is not responsible for the contents of any off-site pages referenced. These links are provided as an information service only.
To the extent that pending criminal matters are discussed in this website, you are advised that a charge is merely an accusation and that a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. The materials on this Web site are copyrighted. Copying, reproduction, or distribution of any part of this Web site is prohibited without the prior written consent of the Office of the District Attorney, 4th District. However, downloading and printing of materials from this web site is allowed for the personal use of visitors to the web site. In fact, such use is encouraged.
User agrees to defend, indemnify, and hold harmless, the Office of the District Attorney, 4th District web site, its contributors, any entity jointly created by them, their respective affiliates and their respective directors, officers, employees, and agents from and against all claims and expenses, including attorney's fees, arising out of the use of the on-line service by user in reference to any claim however caused and on any theory of liability, whether in contract, strict liability, or tort (including negligence).