Ford pleads guilty to manslaughter

Published 12:08 am Tuesday, March 26, 2013

NATCHEZ — A Natchez man pleaded guilty Monday to manslaughter for shooting and killing a man in September 2011.

Adams County Circuit Court Judge Forrest “Al” Johnson said Troy J. Ford, 29, 310 Arlington Ave., pleaded guilty to manslaughter this morning for killing Willie Lee Chatman, 38, 205 Choctaw St.

Adams County Sheriff Chuck Mayfield said shortly after the incident that Chatman was the victim of three execution-style gunshot wounds to the head on the night of Sept. 15, 2011.

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A motorist spotted Chatman’s body lying in McNeil Road approximately 150 yards from U.S. 84, Mayfield said shortly after the incident. Ford was arrested and charged with murder the day after the shooting.

Mayfield said Ford was apparently a friend of Chatman’s before the shooting, which reportedly occurred following an argument. The two men had been drinking alcohol and arguing, according to witnesses who were with the two prior to the murder, Mayfield said.

Mayfield said deputies had reason to believe Ford and Chatman were driving in Ford’s white Ford Bronco, when the driver pulled over on McNeil Road and both men got out of the car to argue. Mayfield said shortly after the arrest he believed both men were standing up when the shooting occurred.

Mayfield said after Ford’s arrest that all three gunshot wounds entered Chatman’s forehead above his right eye and exited the back of his head in roughly the same area.

Johnson said he will sentence Ford at 1 p.m. today and allow Ford and the families involved to speak before Ford is sentenced.

Ford faces a maximum of 20 years in prison, Johnson said.