Natchez man pleads guilty to manslaughter in father’s death

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 7, 2000

A Natchez man charged with murdering his father pleaded guilty to manslaughter Wednesday night. Mark Allen, 45, 106 Seargent S. Prentiss Drive, was sentenced to 20 years in jail for the September 1999 killing of James P. Allen Sr., 74.

According to court records, Allen has a history of mental problems, and the court had not ruled out an insanity defense in the case. He was originally scheduled to go to trial Dec. 12 for killing his father prior to a night-long stand off with police.

Police believe Allen shot his father twice in the head and cut his throat. The killing apparently took place in the basement of his parents’ residence.

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Judge Forrest &uot;Al&uot; Johnson gave Allen the maximum sentence for manslaughter, which because of Allen’s age is equal to what he would have received if a jury had convicted of murder.

&uot;With the defendant being 45 years old and eligible for release at age 65 on a murder conviction and life sentence, the 20-year sentence on manslaughter is practically tantamount to a life sentence,&uot; said Assistant District Attorney David Hall. &uot;We are pleased with the outcome achieved in this case.&uot;

Allen was also fined $10,000 plus court costs. He will be incarcerated at the Mississippi Department of Corrections but he will also receive mental treatment, Johnson said.

Up until just prior to his plea hearing Wednesday, officials did not think Allen had admitted to the crime.

&uot;I was somewhat surprised that (the plea) happened,&uot; Johnson said. &uot;Everybody was gearing up for a large trial.&uot;

Despite Allen’s perceived earlier reluctance to admit any involvement, Johnson said Allen did not present himself in that light during the hearing.

&uot;He very clearly answered the question that he was in fact guilty of manslaughter in the death of his father,&uot; Johnson said.

At the hearing, Allen’s mother Irene Allen, spoke on her son’s behalf. &uot;She knows her son. He loved his father, and she knows that he would not have done this to him if he had known what he was doing,&uot; District Attorney Ronnie Harper said.

Allen’s attorney Don Ogden declined comment Thursday.