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.”

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Holmes County Assistant Principal Sentenced for Sexual Battery of Student

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resources

Attorney General

www.ago.state.ms.us

MDOC

www.ms.gov

Federal Prisoners

www.bop.gov

Sex Offender Registry

state.sor.dps.ms.gov

AG Victim Unit

www.ago.state.ms.us

Our Mission

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.

Contact

Greenville Office
P.O. Box 426
Greenville MS 38702
[P] 662.378.2105
[F] 662.332.4665
generalinfo@msdeltada.com

Indianola Office
P.O. Box 1046
Indianola, MS 38751
[P] 662.887.4306
[F] 662.887.6275
generalinfo@msdeltada.com

Greenwood Office
P.O. Box 253
Greenwood, MS 38935
[P] 662.453.1089
[F] 662.451.7291
generalinfo@msdeltada.com

Judicial Process

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.

Municipalities


• City of Greenville


• City of Hollandale

• City of Leland
• City of Metcalfe

• Washington County

• City of Indianola
• City of Ruleville
• City of Drew

• City of Moorhead

• City of Inverness

• City of Sunflower

• Sunflower County

• City of Itta Bena

• City of Greenwood


• Leflore County