Mississippi Supreme Court agrees to hear appeal in murder of George County Sheriff Garry Welford

Christopher Lee Baxter is shown in May 2012 during his capital murder trial in the Adams County Courthouse.
Christopher Lee Baxter is shown in May 2012 during his capital murder trial in the Adams County Courthouse.

JACKSON, Mississippi (AP) — The Mississippi Supreme Court has scheduled arguments for April 14 in an appeal from a man convicted in the 2010 death of George County Sheriff Garry Welford.

The state Court of Appeals upheld Christopher Lee Baxter’s conviction last year.

Baxter and his girlfriend, Brandy Nicole Williams, were convicted in 2012 of capital murder. Each was sentenced to life without parole. Williams declined to testify at Baxter’s trial.

The Appeals Court ordered a new trial for Williams last December.

Welford, 62, was struck by a pickup truck in which Williams and Baxter were fleeing from authorities on July 21, 2010. Baxter was sought on an arrest warrant issued after he missed a sentencing date for drug convictions.

Baxter argued if his conviction was upheld, it would be the first in Mississippi of a passenger in a truck being convicted of capital murder in a fatality. Baxter said eyewitnesses put Williams behind the wheel of the truck.

Prosecutors said regardless of which one of the two was driving, Baxter and Williams were both presumably responsible under the law. They said there was evidence that Baxter was an “aider or abettor” to the crime and equally as guilty with the principal offender.