Sexual battery cases dropped

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 2, 2010

NATCHEZ — Criminal cases of three men accused of sexual battery of a 4-year-old were dismissed Thursday in circuit court.

Terry Holmes, 49, Parnell McBride, 23, and Nolan Morrison Jr., 22, were each charged with two counts of sexual battery in April 2009 relating to an October 2008 incident.

The three men were arrested last year for sexual battery of children who were ages 2 and 4 at the time of the alleged incident, according to court testimony.

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Authorities became aware of the alleged crime when the older sister told her mother of an October 2008 incident in which she and her sister were assaulted.

District attorney Ronnie Harper said the cases were ordered nolle prosequi, or unwilling to proceed, due to limited physical evidence and to prevent forcing a young child from testifying in possibly three separate trials in circuit court.

Harper said the decision to drop the charges was not made lightly. He said the victim’s mother was consulted about the decision to dismiss the case, and based on the facts and circumstances of the case, he chose dismiss the charges.

“We did not feel like it was in the best interest to go forward (with the case),” Harper said.

Harper said a precedent set by the 2004 Supreme Court Case Crawford vs. Washington makes prosecuting sexual assault cases more difficult without the testimony of the victim.

In an unrelated case in circuit court Thursday, two men involved in the February robbery of 14 computers from the Boys and Girls Club of Miss-Lou pleaded guilty.

Maurice Pullins, 26, 47 Emerald Mound Road, pleaded guilty to possession of stolen property.

James J. Fields, 18, 2 Old Highway 84 No. 1, pleaded guilty to burglary of a storehouse.

Assistant District Attorney Walt Brown said Fields and a 16-year-old minor allegedly stole the computers from the Boys and Girls club on Homochitto Street, and Pullins took possession of the computers and sold them.

Pullins was sentenced serve six years in the Mississippi Department of Corrections to serve one year on house on house arrest and the remaining five on post-released supervision.

Fields was sentenced to six years MDOC, with the first year in the regimented inmate discipline program and the remaining five on post-released supervision.

Pullins was also ordered to pay a $3,000 fine, plus fees.

Fields was ordered to pay $1,200 in restitution plus fees.

Brown said many of the stolen computers were recovered with the cooperation of Pullins, but some were damaged.

Brown said Fields did not have a prior criminal record.

The case of the minor allegedly involved in the burglary is assigned to youth court, wherein proceedings are not made public.

In other court news:

A preliminary hearing for Boris Word, Quintin Smith and Willie Duck is scheduled Tuesday for the 2009 murder of Terry Lynn Farmer.

The hearing will determine whether enough evidence exists to present the cases in front of a grand jury.

The murder trial for Lizzie Madison and Paul M. Green is set for Nov. 9.

Adams County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested Madison and Green in connection with brutal beating and murder of Clark Felton Jr. in August 2009.

Uthaw Ellis Turner pleaded guilty Sept. 21 to one count of child fondling. The judge delayed sentencing pending a pre-sentencing investigation report.

Turner originally pleaded not guilty to one count of child fondling, two counts of sexual battery and one court of rape.

Turner was arrested in July 2008 after the mother of a 13-year-old girl told sheriff’s deputies Turner was abusing the girl. The mother and Turner were previously married.”

The manslaughter trial of Jamon V. Williams, 17, is scheduled for Nov. 9.

Williams allegedly delivered a fatal strike to John “Body Man” Henderson in September 2009.

Although Williams was 16 years old at the time of the crime, he faced the grand jury as an adult because children older than 13 can be charged as an adult for capital offenses, such as murder.

Adams County Youth Court Judge John Hudson ordered the transfer of Williams to circuit court for manslaughter in August to be tried as an adult after a transfer hearing took place.

Separate trials for two men accused of beating an elderly couple are scheduled for November.

The trial for Deon D. Woods, 19, is set for Nov. 16.

The trial for LaKendrick D. Allen, 22, is set for Nov. 23.

Both men were indicted for aggravated assault and armed robbery.

Woods and Allen were arrested in connection with a Feb. 12 home invasion in which an elderly couple was assaulted at their house on Second Street.