Latest Mississippi news, sports, business and entertainment


Mississippi man wins new trial in girlfriend’s death

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – A Mississippi man convicted in 2012 in the death of his girlfriend has won a new trial because a judge failed to conduct a hearing into his arguments of mental disability.

The state Court of Appeals, in a 9-1 ruling Tuesday, says a Walthall County judge thought there were enough questions about Robert Wayne Silvia’s competency to order an examination. The trial judge never held a hearing on the results of the examination.

Prosecutors say deputies found Darlene Berthelot’s body in a freezer on June 10, 2010, at the home she shared with Silvia in Jayess.

In his appeal, Silvia does not deny he killed Berthelot. Instead, he argues the shooting occurred while he was in a state of hopeless despair and intoxication because Berthelot was going to leave him.


State trade mission to Central Europe

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – The Mississippi Development Authority will lead a delegation of Mississippi companies on a business development trip to Central Europe on Aug. 31 through Sept. 4.

MDA officials say in a news release that the trip will include visits with business leaders from Poland and the Czech Republic. Talks will be with prospects in information technology, electrical power systems, green building products and technologies and others.

The trip will coincide with the International Defense Industry Exhibition, a trade fair dedicated to military equipment that attracts more than 500 exhibitors from 27 countries and 15,000 visitors.

The Small Business Administration-funded Mississippi State Trade Export Promotion program reimburses eligible businesses up to 50 percent of their travel costs and provides interpretation services.

The deadline to register is June 26.


Change of command set for Gulfport training center

GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) – Brig. General William Hill, chief of staff for the Mississippi Air National Guard Chief of Staff, will preside over a change of command ceremony on June 6 at the Gulfport Combat Readiness Training Center.

The Air National Guard says in a news release that Lt. Col. Paul Drake will take command of the training center from Col. John Ladner.

Drake graduated from the Naval Academy and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Marine Corps. Before taking command of the CRTC, he was the commander of the 255th Air Control Squadron in Gulfport.

The CRTC includes the Shelby East and West Air-to-Ground Gunnery Ranges; five drop zones; C-17/C-130/C-27 Assault Strip; Air Combat Training System; and all associated airspace, hosts more than 20,000 deployed personnel annually.


Charges against Bay St. Louis councilman dropped

BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. (AP) – Court officials say charges against Bay St. Louis City Councilman Joey Boudin have been dropped.

The Sea Coast Echo reports that charges of simple assault and trespassing against Boudin were withdrawn this week, according to Hancock County Justice Court officials.

In February Boudin was arrested after a Lakeshore man signed a private affidavit accusing Boudin of assaulting him. A private affidavit is when someone signs charges against another person.

Boudin’s arrest stemmed from an incident which occurred in Lakeshore, where he was accused of busting down the door of a man’s home and assaulting him. The case was scheduled to go to trial Tuesday.

Since his arrest, Boudin has said he was innocent. He said he would issue a statement through his lawyer later this week.


Motorized wheelchair maker to open Mississippi factory

PONTOTOC, Miss. (AP) – Pride Mobility Products Corp., a maker of motorized wheelchairs and scooters, is opening a factory in northeast Mississippi.

Based in Exeter, Pennsylvania, Pride plans to invest $2 million and hire 150 workers at a facility at the former Genesis Furniture factory in Pontotoc, which closed last year.

Federal, state and local governments will give more than $1.8 million to aid the deal. The state will grant $1.5 million in federal community development money to the city of Pontotoc to improve the building. Pontotoc County will get a $300,000 state loan to use toward improvements. The city of Pontotoc, the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Tennessee Valley Authority are giving undisclosed amounts.

Pride is controlled by the Meuser family, including former Pennsylvania Revenue Secretary and Republican congressional candidate Dan Meuser.


USM readying new College of Business building

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) – Faculty of the College of Business at the University of Southern Mississippi will move into their new building in mid-July.

Scianna Hall is a $30 million 93,000-square-foot building that replaces Joseph Greene Hall, which opened in 1967.

Faye Gilbert, dean of the College of Business, tells the Hattiesburg American the new building has almost double the square footage of Joseph Greene Hall. Gilbert says there is plenty of space for students to work and gather, including a student leadership suite.

Scianna Hall includes a distance learning lecture hall and tiered classrooms equipped with digital displays and comprehensive multimedia stations.

A Financial Services Lab allows students to work trading stocks and bonds and getting real-time information on the stock market.

Gilbert says students will become accustomed to a professional environment.


Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College to increase tuition

BILOXI, Miss. (AP) – The Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College has decided to increase rates by $250 for next school year.

The college’s board of trustees unanimously approved the increase Wednesday from $1,150 to $1,400 – about a 20 percent bump. The increase in tuition is expected to bring in about $2 million in revenues, according to the Sun Herald.

The board also approved a boost in fees for high-cost technical programs such as nursing, and provided a $1,000 salary bump and cost-of-living adjustment for all employees.

President Mary Graham said it was necessary to increase tuition to maintain the quality of the school’s programs.

About 70 percent of students at the school receive some form of aid, so the increase will hit the remaining 30 percent the most.