Stephen Williams sentenced to Two Consecutive Life Sentences
District Attorney W. Dewayne Richardson announced this week that Stephen B. Williams, Jr. of Itta Bena, Mississippi, pled guilty to two counts of first degree murder and was sentenced by Leflore Circuit Judge Ashley Hines to serve two consecutive life sentences for the March 16, 2020 slayings of 49 year old Jacqueline Taylor and 58 year old Freddie Mask in Itta Bena, Mississippi.
Upon entering his guilty pleas, Williams also pled guilty to aggravated domestic violence charges in an unrelated case and was sentenced to serve two years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections to run at the same time as his life sentences. Williams was 24 years old at the time he committed the crimes.
The murder charges arose when a concerned citizen, who knew Ms. Taylor and Mr. Mask, discovered their bodies at a residence located on CR 138 in Itta Bena, after passing the residence on the morning of March 16, 2020 and noticing the interior front door open but the glass storm door closed and stopping to check on them. The citizen immediately called the Leflore County Sherriff’s Office. LCSO deputies responded and found the victims shot to death. Further investigation revealed that the Ms. Taylor and Mr. Mask were killed around 4 to 4:30 am on the morning their bodies were discovered.
Stephen B. Williams, Jr. was being investigated as a suspect in an unrelated March 14, 2020 shooting which occurred in Sidon, Mississippi and emerged as a suspect in the March 20, 2020 slayings. Williams admitted to Leflore County Sheriff Ricky Banks and deputies that he killed Ms. Taylor and Mr. Mask during the course of robbing them at the CR 138 residence.
The cases were investigated by the Leflore County Sheriff’s Department and were prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Timothy Jones. While nothing can take away the pain of losing a loved one, the District Attorney’s Office hopes that these convictions give the family and friends of the departed a sense of relief that justice has been served.
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
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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.
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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