Murray and Johnson plead Guilty to Killing Lawrence “Shine’ Thornton

Greenville, MS – In Washington County Circuit Court, Geblonski Murray and Edward Johnson pled guilty to killing Lawrence “Shine” Thornton, District Attorney Dewayne Richardson announced today.  Both men had been indicted by a Washington County grand jury for Capital Murder and other charges stemming from crimes committed between October 17 and 18, 2013.

On Tuesday, both Murray and Johnson pled guilty to Second Degree Murder, Robbery, and Auto Burglary.  The charges stemmed from the October 18, 2013 killing of Mr. Thornton where Geblonski Murray admitted to physically assaulting Mr. Thornton causing his death.  This crime occurred at Shine Thornton’s home on Toni Street here in Greenville, MS.  Both defendants were present when this crime took place and they both also admitted to committing a unrelated robbery the day prior to killing Mr. Thornton.

At the sentencing hearing, John Thornton, the eldest son of Lawrence “Shine” Thornton spoke on behalf of the family and addressed the court and both defendants.  During the sentencing hearing John Thornton went into grave detail of his father’s injuries and death and stated, “That we are hoping that one day you will think about what you have done to someone that was loved so much and that the Thornton Family hopes that somewhere in the next 40 years that these defendants will think about what they did and that it will cause a positive change in their lives in some way.”

After hearing from the family with regards to sentencing, Judge Ashley Hines sentenced both Murray and Johnson to the State’s recommendation.  Geblonski Murray was sentenced to a total of 45 years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections.  Murray will serve the first 40 years in prison without any opportunity for early release or parole and will be on probation for the last 5 years.  Edward Johnson was sentenced to a total of 35 years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections where he will serve the duration of his sentence. Johnson will serve the first 30 years in prison and then be on probation for the last 5 years of his sentence.

Richardson added that, “the District Attorney’s office hopes that these convictions give the family and friends of Lawrence “Shine” Thornton a sense of relief that his killers have been brought to justice.”

May 27, 2015
Contact: W. Dewayne Richardson
District Attorney, Fourth Circuit Court District | 662-378-2105

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resources

Attorney General

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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.

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

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Indianola, MS 38751
[P] 662.887.4306
[F] 662.887.6275
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P.O. Box 253
Greenwood, MS 38935
[P] 662.453.1089
[F] 662.451.7291
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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.

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