Latest Mississippi news, sports, business and entertainment


jail bars2 officers hurt at Mississippi jail under scrutiny

RAYMOND, Miss. (AP) – Hinds County authorities say two guards injured during a jail incident may have deliberately violated policy and procedures before a fight took place.

The incident occurred June 11 at the Hinds County Detention Center in Raymond.

Hinds County Deputy Sheriff Chris Piccou tells WAPT-TV in Jackson that investigators are still looking at surveillance video to see what specifically started the fight.

The guards have not been identified.

In a news release Monday, Sheriff Tyrone Lewis said inmate Tracey Coleman has been charged with aggravated assault. The 22-year-old Coleman was arrested in January on a charge of murder in the fatal shooting of his father in December of 2014.

Piccou says the guards responsible for the incident could be suspended, fired or prosecuted depending on the results of the investigation.


Parental kidnapping suspect back in Mississippi

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – A missing Mississippi teenager is back with his father.

Federal prosecutors say the mother, 38-year-old Jennifer Houff, is accused of abducting the child at age 12.

On Monday, Houff appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Keith Ball. She was released to the custody of her parents on $10,000 unsecured bond. She is scheduled to be fitted with a GPS monitoring system on Wednesday.

Houff allegedly disappeared with her son in March 2012, when he was 13, and eventually fleeing with him to Egypt. According to her testimony in court, she returned Saturday.

FBI spokesman, Special Agent Jason Pack, says agents worked with the Rankin County Sheriff’s Department through the FBI Legal Attache’s office in Cairo, as well as the Justice and State Departments to bring Houff back to Mississippi.


FEMA sets up hotline for flood insurance policyholders

NEW ORLEANS (AP) – With the 2015 hurricane season underway, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has launched a National Flood Insurance Program call center pilot program to serve and support policyholders with the servicing of their claims.

Flood insurance claims can be complicated, and policyholders may have questions in the days and weeks following a disaster.

The call center is reachable at 1-800-621-3362, and will operate from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.


DeSoto Co. seeks to boost flood control through partnership

HERNANDO, Miss. (AP) – DeSoto is seeking $500,000 from the Corps of Engineers for feasibility studies of flood prevention projects for fiscal 2016.

The Commercial Appeal reports the DeSoto County Board of Supervisors on Monday approved sending the request to Steve Stockton, Washington-based director of civil works for the Corps.

The board wants the county to partner with the Corps through its Memphis district for improvements under the ongoing Memphis Metro Stormwater Management Authorization program.

Supervisor Bill Russell of Walls and Supervisor Lee Caldwell of Nesbit said a good example is flood-prone Holly Springs Road, a major east-west artery linking DeSoto and Marshall counties. Russell says the county for years has been seeking road improvements; the estimated cost is $16 million to $20 million.


Hinds supervisors reject payment of 5 private lawyers

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – The Hinds County Board of Supervisors has refused to pay claims by five private lawyers appointed by Circuit Judge Jeff Weill to handle cases of indigent defendants during his dispute with the public defender’s office.

The Clarion-Ledger reports Board of Supervisors Attorney Pieter Teeuwissen recommended to supervisors Monday to reject the claims. Teeuwissen said he expects legal action to result from the appointments by Weill.

Last month, the Mississippi Supreme Court ruled Weill doesn’t have authority to remove Assistant Hinds County Public Defender Alison Kelly from handling cases in his courtroom.

Weill and Kelly have been in an ongoing dispute, with Weill calling Kelly incompetent and saying she had engaged in numerous acts of misconduct.


D’Iberville puts a high price on protected trees

D’IBERVILLE, Miss. (AP) – It will cost developers and homeowners who cut down a protected tree in D’Iberville, and the bigger the tree, the more they will spend.

The Sun Herald reports the city council amended the tree ordinance last month and set tough new mitigation requirements on a graduated scale, depending on the size of the tree.

A protected tree 8 inches in diameter must be replaced with 12 trees. A 14-inch diameter protected tree would cost three trees plus three more for every 2 inches, requiring that 21 new trees be planted.

The original tree ordinance adopted in December 1992 designated oaks, magnolia, cypress, sycamore and cedars as protected trees. Under the new ordinance, oak was changed to live oak trees and cypress to bald cypress.


Cartel courier gets prison after being found with $1M

GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) – A suspected cartel courier found with more than $1 million hidden in a vehicle he was towing has been sentenced to prison for 13 months and fined $4,000.

The Sun Herald reports U.S. District Judge Sul Ozerden sentenced Luis Miguel Aguilar Gutierrez on a guilty plea to misprision of felony on Monday. The charge means knowing a crime was committed but not reporting it.

Federal task-force agents had identified Gutierrez, as a courier for a Mexican drug cartel after his arrest following a traffic stop Sept. 3 on Interstate 10 near Moss Point.

The FBI has said officers found over $1 million hidden in the oil pan and engine compartment of a towed vehicle.

Court papers show Gutierrez was living in Brownsville, Texas.


Former Vicksburg mayor released from federal prison

VICKSBURG, Miss. (AP) – Former Vicksburg Mayor Paul E. Winfield, who pleaded guilty to federal bribery charges in 2013, is living at a halfway house and working in a Jackson law office.

A Bureau of Prisons spokesman tells The Vicksburg Post that Winfield, who was an inmate at the federal prison in Montgomery, Alabama, was transferred to the halfway house Feb. 25. His projected release date is Oct. 28.

Winfield, a former attorney, pleaded guilty to seeking $10,000 in cash from a confidential FBI informant in exchange for a city contract. He was sentenced to 25 months.

Winfield is working for Jackson lawyer Dennis Sweet. Sweet represented Winfield in his bribery case.

The newspaper says Winfield declined comment when contacted at Sweet’s office.

Winfield was elected mayor in 2009 but lost a re-election bid.


Perjury charge against ex-Diamondhead official dropped

GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) – A Mississippi judge has dismissed a perjury charge against Richard Rose, former city manager of Diamondhead.

The Sun Herald reports Harrison County Circuit Judge Lisa Dodson dismissed the indictment in an ordered filed Monday

The indictment had alleged that Rose, fired June 3, 2014, lied to a Mississippi Department of Employment Security review board in Gulfport two months later.

He was accused of lying when he said he had not demanded a year’s salary in exchange for not releasing what he described as incriminating information about Diamondhead Mayor Tommy Schafer.

The state Attorney General’s Office had filed a motion last week to dismiss the indictment.

The motion said the indictment was “fatally defective” because it did not include all the necessary elements for the offense of perjury.