McClinton Pleads Guilty to Hopewell Church Arson
Greenville, MS – On March 28, 2019, Washington County Circuit Judge Margaret Carey-McCray accepted the guilty plea of Andrew McClinton, 47 years of age, for the arson that destroyed the Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church. McClinton will be sentenced during the week of April 29, 2019.
The investigation of the church burning began in the evening hours of November 1, 2016, the Greenville Fire Department responded to a 911 call for a fire at the Hopewell Church on Delesseps Street. Upon arrival, they found the church fully engulfed in flames. Local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies began their investigations into the fire and over the course of a several weeks long investigation developed McClinton as a suspect in the arson. The investigation resulted in the collection of cell phone records and video surveillance that tied McClinton to the scene. In December 2016, McClinton gave a confession to law enforcement in which he admitted to setting the fire in the church using the church’s electrical wires to light the carpet on fire. The church was completely destroyed in the fire.
McClinton had been previously convicted of a 2004 Armed Robbery and a 1997 Attempted Armed Robbery, with both convictions occurring in Lee County, Mississippi. McClinton will be sentenced as a Habitual Offender in light of his previous felony convictions.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys John Herzog Jr. Kaylon McCou, and Austin Frye. Herzog said that “without the dedicated and diligent teamwork of local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies striving to attain justice, this painful chapter in the long history of the Hopewell M.B. Church could not have been closed. Those members of the public who assisted law enforcement deserve a special note of recognition and praise, this case could not have been closed and McClinton brought to justice without their valuable assistance,” Herzog further said.
The case was investigated by the Greenville Fire Department, the Greenville Police Department, Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, the Mississippi Bureau of Investigations, the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the Mississippi State Fire Marshal’s Office. Local businesses and citizens also provided valuable assistance to law enforcement during the course of the investigation.
District Attorney W. Dewayne Richardson states, “The Office of the District Attorney is elated to bring closure to a single incident that gave a black eye to the Queen City of the Mississippi Delta. Through McClinton’s selfish actions, he brought national attention to our community. On today, McClinton admitted guilt before Circuit Court McCray and he will soon be sentenced for his actions.”
Contact: W. Dewayne Richardson District Attorney, Fourth Circuit Court District | 662-378-
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).