Latest Mississippi news, sports, business and entertainment


Ole Miss tackle booked in assault case involving stepfather

OXFORD, Miss. (AP) – University of Mississippi football coach Hugh Freeze confirms that offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil has been arrested in a domestic violence case involving his stepfather in Oxford.

Freeze issued a statement Saturday saying that Tunsil turned himself in and was arrested for misdemeanor domestic violence-simple assault.

The incident happened Thursday night. Freeze said Tunsil was defending his mother against his stepfather and that Tunsil and his mother have pressed charges against the stepfather.

A person who answered the telephone at the Oxford Police Department could not immediately confirm the arrest.

Oxford police chief Joey East did not immediately return a message seeking comment.


2 arrested for disturbing peace with shotgun


GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) – Two Harrison County men who allegedly brandished a shotgun at a Gulfport business have been arrested for disturbance of the peace.

The Sun-Herald reports that 19-year-old Holton Wade Saucier (SOH’-sher), who allegedly carried the gun, was booked with disturbance in a public place and disturbance of public peace. Bond was set at $1,054.

Eighteen-year-old William Cordell Kennon, was arrested on a disturbance in a public place charge. His bond was $677.

Both were released pending trial.

Police said Saucier was carrying the gun legally but he then loaded the shotgun and pumped it in front of witnesses at a Wal-Mart store. That led prompted a call to police and the arrests of Saucier and Kennon.


Clarksdale attorney shot to death; suspect in custody


CLARKSDALE, Miss. (AP) – Police in Clarksdale say a suspect is in custody after an attorney was shot to death in his office.

The shooting happened Friday afternoon. The Clarksdale Press Register reports that the victim was attorney Ellis Pittman.

Pittman was in his office for a deposition with other attorneys, including Clarksdale mayor Bill Luckett. Luckett told the newspaper he was leaving the office when he heard the shots. He said Pittman died while being airlifted to a Memphis hospital.

The suspect was identified as a local contractor and builder who was being sued by Pittman. He turned himself in to authorities hours after the shooting.

Information on charges was not immediately available.


Indianola Pecan House expanding operations in Indianola

INDIANOLA, Miss. (AP) – The Indianola Pecan House has announced an expansion that will add 10 jobs.

The company says in a news release the project represents a $50,000 corporate investment and will bring the total number employed at the Indianola location to 60.

For the expansion, Indianola Pecan House will relocate its cracking and cooking operations into a 40,000-square-foot facility purchased from the Sunflower County.

Mississippi Development Authority provided assistance in support of the project for infrastructure improvements. The city of Indianola provided assistance for the project, as well.

Founded in 1979, Indianola Pecan House, home of the original praline pecan, specializes in gourmet specialty pecans, pecan candies, pies, cookies and more.


Drop in casino revenue means tax hike likely by levee board


CLARKSDALE, Miss. (AP) – The Yazoo Mississippi Delta Levee Board is holding a public meeting July 9 on a proposed tax increase.

Since 1996, levee board has not raised taxes. The Clarkdale Press Register reports that’s likely to change.

The levee board – which is tasked with maintaining the levee system in 12 counties – gets its revenue from casino rentals. The levee board charges rent to the casinos docked along the banks of the Mississippi River.

Since 2008, after the economic collapse and the creation of newer casinos in other parts of the country, the Mississippi Delta casinos have made less and less money. Harrah’s closed its Tunica casino in June 2014.

Levee board attorney John Henson says the board is facing a $3.6 million deficit in the next fiscal year.


Michelle Byrom pleads guilty in husband’s death, freed

IUKA, Miss. (AP) – A woman who spent 14 years on Mississippi’s death row has pleaded guilty to killing her husband and subsequently was released from jail.

The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reports 58-year-old Michelle Byrom entered an Alford guilty plea to the 1999 murder of Edward Byrom Sr. in Tishomingo County Circuit Court on Friday before Judge Paul Funderburk.

The Clarion-Ledger reports the judge then sentenced Byrom to 20 years with four years suspended. That equals the 16 years she’s already served.

Byrom was accused of killing her husband and recruiting her son to assist in a murder-for-hire plot. After her trial, Edward Byrom Jr. allegedly confessed to the killing.

In March 2014, the Mississippi Supreme Court threw out Michelle Byrom’s conviction and ordered a new trial.


Lawyers seek to remove block on gay marriage in Mississippi

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – Attorneys for same-sex couples have asked a federal appeals court to remove a procedural block so gay marriages can begin in Mississippi.

It was not immediately clear when the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals would consider the request.

The Supreme Court ruled Friday that gay marriage is legal nationwide.

But there was frustration among same-sex couples in Mississippi after state Attorney General Jim Hood said marriages could not start immediately.

A federal judge last year overturned Mississippi’s ban on gay marriage but put his own ruling on hold while the state appealed. Hood says the 5th Circuit must lift that hold before clerks can issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Three lesbian couples obtained licenses and married Friday in Hattiesburg amid confusion over when weddings can legally begin.


State alleges violations by Greenwood School District


GREENWOOD, Miss. (AP) – Greenwood school officials are reviewing a preliminary audit from the Mississippi Department of Education that suggests the district is in violation of some state policies and standards.

The audit was conducted during several visits to the district between April 30 and May 22.

The Greenwood Commonwealth reports the audit was delivered to the district Wednesday and it obtained a copy Thursday.

Among the issues raised in the preliminary report are numerous problems with the minutes of Greenwood School Board meetings, misreporting district information to state officials and problems with the district’s financial management.

The district has until July 24 to respond to the findings.

The district avoided a possible state takeover last July after a state commission allowed the district time to correct the violations.