Sturdivant pleads guilty, gets 14 years for church burglary

Published 2:42 pm Friday, June 28, 2024

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NATCHEZ — A suspect in a June 7, 2022, church burglary pleaded guilty on Wednesday in Circuit Court and received the maximum sentence allowable for the crime — 14 years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections.

Mark Sturdivant

Mark Sturdivant, 37, was apprehended by Adams County Sheriff Travis Patten and his deputies on June 17, 2022. They found him hiding in the tight space under a bed in a room at the Red Carpet Inn.

“He’d rather be crushed under the bed than go to jail,” Patten said at the time.

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Sturdivant was one of two sought for the burglary of the Washington Baptist Church, Old Highway 84 No. 1. Authorities identified him on video camera footage entering the church and stealing three television sets from the church.

The other suspect remains at large.

Patten said deputies located Sturdivant in 2022 after receiving a tip from someone who saw him enter the hotel room.

“After seeing him in the news, they saw him going into the hotel room and called us,” Patten said. When officers searched the room, they found Sturdivant under the bed, lying belly down next to a pack of cigarettes and a cell phone, and arrested him. He was detained at the time by ACSO on a charge of church burglary and also had a warrant for a parole violation with the Mississippi Department of Corrections, Patten said.

On Wednesday, immediately after sentencing Sturdivant to the maximum sentence, Judge Debra Blackwell revoked a three-year, suspended sentence Sturdivant was serving from Amite County.

“As soon as he has finished serving the 14 years for this crime, he will then have to serve the three years remaining from Amite County,” Sixth Circuit District Attorney Tim Cotton said.