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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resources

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AG Victim Unit

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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.