Court nixes motion by convict

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 17, 2003

WOODVILLE&045;Brian Van Norman, who pleaded guilty last year to manslaughter in connection with the slaying of a 73 year-old Centreville man, lost a bid for post-conviction relief last month.

Van Norman filed a petition in the Sixth Circuit Court claiming that his due process rights were violated, his guilty plea was involuntarily entered, and that he received ineffective assistance from his lawyers. Sixth Circuit Judge Lillie Blackman Sanders found no merit to any of Van Norman’s claims and denied his motion, according to documents in the Wilkinson County Circuit Clerk’s office.

Regarding Van Norman’s guilty plea, Sanders noted that the case record indicates the defendant entered his guilty plea knowingly, intelligently and voluntarily. Earl Ray Calloway was found slain in his Conyer Street home in Centreville on Christmas Day 1999.

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Van Norman was originally charged with murder in the case. But a mistrial was declared when jurors could not agree on a verdict. Prosecutors chose to retry the case, and Van Norman pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of manslaughter last June.

an Norman, who is also convicted of simple robbery and aggravated assault, was sentenced to a 30-year term in the Mississippi Department of Corrections.