Lanelson Spells pleads Guilty to Second Degree Murder

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

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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.

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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.

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