Storms, flooding and a hate crime all make headlines in 2011

Heavy rains caused the Mississippi River to flood several counties across the state this year leaving residents homeless and business, like the Greenville Yacht Club (pictured) under water.
Charles McLaurin, who worked with Fannie Lou Hamer until her death, attended the unveiling of her marker on the Mississippi Freedom Trail. McLaurin is joined by Human Rights attoney Jaribu Hill. (Photo by Monica Land)
'The Help', which was filmed in Greenwood and based on the novel by Mississippi author Kathryn Stockett set box office records when it was released this summer.
Mary Grandberry (pictured) was sentenced to 20 years, 10 to serve, for sexually assaulting her infant granddaughter resulting in the child's death.

2011 Year in Review

JACKSON – The weather was a big issue in Mississippi in 2011 starting with an unexpected snowfall leading up to rigidly cold temperatures, the flooding of the ‘Mighty’ Mississippi and a spawn of tornadoes that literally swept away the town of Smithville leaving a trail of death and destruction.

The year began with a Jackson police officer accidentally shooting a suspect after he thought the suspect fired on a fellow officer. The suspect initially ran from police during questioning and was allegedly found to be in possession of marijuana after the shooting. The suspect was later treated and released from an area hospital.

The year was scattered with countless arrests for possession of child pornography, sexual assaults on children and crimes by medical professionals against the elderly and disabled.

The year 2011 also saw 53 homicides in the capital city of Jackson, up 12 from last year which had 41. Jackson Police Department spokesman Colendula Green said 42 of this year’s homicides have been solved by investigators with the JPD.

One of those murders brought national attention to the state when two white teens were charged with the murder of a black man. Surveillance video showed James Craig Anderson being run over by a pick up truck allegedly driven by Deryl Paul Dedmon. Prosecutors said Dedmon bragged to his friends using a racially charged term, that he had just run over a black man.

Dedmon remains behind bars.

A record number of town and county officials were also arrested in 2011 and charged with embezzlement or other financial crimes. The state auditor’s office has uncovered many of these crimes and has been successful in having most, if not all, of the funds returned to the rightful county and its taxpayers.

Here are other highlights from the year:


– Jennifer Hale Belue and Johnny Lee Massengil are arrested and charged with felony child abuse after Belue’s 3-year-old son is found with critical head injuries and severe burns to the lower part of his body. Police said the boy had been beaten and burned.

– Countless schools, businesses and other organizations across the state closed after wintry weather conditions caused icing on the state’s roadways and bridges. Many county officials imposed curfews to ensure safety on state highways. The governor later declared a state of emergency for several counties.

– Jamie and Gladys Scott, often referred to as the Scott sisters, were convicted of orchestrating a 1993 armed robbery in Forest, Mississippi. Both sisters received double life sentences, an outcome that was criticized as too severe by a number of civil rights activists and prominent commentators on the grounds that the sisters had no previous criminal record and the robbery netted about $11. After 16 years in prison, their release was contingent upon Gladys donating a kidney to Jamie. The sisters maintain their innocence.

– A Greenwood man who was caught having sex with hogs in December 2010 was ordered to have a mental evaluation. Andrew Lee Nash, 52, has been incarcerated since he was arrested on Dec. 3, 2010. Nash was charged with 12 counts of unnatural intercourse after police caught him in the act of sexually assaulting the animals by setting up surveillance equipment in the owner’s stalls.

– A Columbus woman, Monnrika Spann, working as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) at a nursing home was arrested for allegedly pouring salt into the open wounds of a patient with the purpose of inflicting pain and/or injury.

– Friar’s Point authorities said a 14-year old boy would not be charged after he reportedly helped his mother kill her husband. Thirty-three year old Cheryl George, however, has been charged with stabbing her husband of two months, Columbus “Rooster” George, to death.

– Deon Carter was arrested and charged with capital murder after authorities said he killed his brother, Robert L. Carter and Robert’s fiancé, Renitra Lee Mark. The couple was shot to death in their home. They were found two days later and their infant son, Robert Jr., was on the living room floor about 10 feet from his father’s body. He was treated for severe dehydration. The killing was allegedly over a truck.


– Three people were killed after an 18-wheeler collided with two school buses carrying students from Ackerman High School in Choctaw County. Ackerman High School teacher Phyllis Graham, of Eupora, Ackerman High School Coach Steven Moss, of Ackerman, and truck driver Gary Bailey, of Guntown, were all killed on Feb. 8. The buses, loaded with Ackerman High School seniors, were heading back from a school trip to the Ole Miss campus.

– A jury found Jeffery Webb, Sr., a former Jackson police officer guilty of raping his girlfriend’s 14-year-old daughter. Webb began molesting the girl when she was 11. In 2006, Webb was acquitted in the rape of 16-year old girl.

– Supreme Court Justice James Graves becomes the first African-American judge from Mississippi to be appointed to the Fifth Circuit Federal Bench. He will hear cases in Mississippi, Louisana and Texas. He was nominated by President Barack Obama last summer.

– A Memphis woman out on bond for killing her girlfriend’s brother in 2010 was arrested and charged with killing her current girlfriend. Carla Geneice Crain was held on a $5 million bond for allegedly stabbing 43-year old Imogene Jackson to death at Jackson’s daughter’s home in Greenville.

– The body of a woman missing for three years was found almost to the day that she first went missing. The body of 83-year old Virginia Ratliff was discovered in the woods by a landowner in Jefferson County on Feb. 25. Ratliff was initially declared missing by her family on Feb. 28, 2008. Police speculate that Ratliff got lost on her way back to the hospital to see her husband and died in the woods.

– Terrie Robinson shocked the state when authorities said she put her 3-year-old son, Tristan, in the oven while he was still alive and turned it on. Autopsy results confirmed that Tristan died from thermal injuries from the heat in the stove. He also had head injuries.

– Johnny Dupree, the first black mayor of Hattiesburg, set his vision to become governor of Mississippi. Dupree is defeated in November by Phil Bryant.

– After 15 years, Piney Woods ascended back to its normal place as the 2A State Champions. Piney Woods was a school who regularly challenged for state titles, had top players and sent players off to play divison-1 basketball. Head coach Lemuel Jones told his players it was time to bring the tradition back. Jones has been at Piney Woods for four years.

– An 18-year old father is charged with the murder of his 5-month old son. Zacchaeus Brown allegedly killed his son, Jaheem Brown. ER personnel saw the infant had bruising on his face and head when he was brought in to UMC. Brown also faces additional charges because the baby’s mother is 15-years-old.


– Former Jackson television and radio personality Jobie Martin is killed in a car accident.

– An elderly couple is found stabbed to death in their home in Ittawamba County. Jake Howard Carpenter, 29, is arrested and charged with killing his neighbors, Fred Doyle House, 77, and his wife, Mildred Joy House, 79. Carpenter often did odd jobs for the couple.

– Darrell Edward Blappert Jr. is charged with felony driving under the influence after he slammed into a car in a parking lot killing a woman as she put her 4-year-old son in his safety seat. Deanna Tucker, the daughter of Gulfport Police Chief Alan Weatherford, had just been to look at her wedding dress. She was to be married on April 23.

– Karen Manning, a 54-year-old teacher at Bates Elementary School, collapsed in front of her fourth grade class and later died at a local hospital.


– A 76-year old Lowndes County man is arrested for allegedly raping his granddaughter. The case of David Arthur Gill has been continued several times since he allegedly raped his 16-year old granddaughter on at least two occasions. Gill is scheduled to appear in court in February 2012.

– Severe storms, some producing tornadoes throughout the area, causes Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson to speak publicly to concerned citizens urging them to drive with caution. The city of Clinton was especially hit hard sending cars flying through the air.

– Dr. Cassandra Faye Thomas, owner of Central Jackson Family Medical Clinic in Jackson, is convicted of two counts of health care fraud, four counts of wire fraud, two counts of making false statements related to health care, theft of government funds, and conspiracy to commit health care fraud. Prosecutors said she filed more than $12 million in false Medicare and Medicaid claims. She faces up to 125 years in jail.

– A 3-year-old girl from Marion County is attacked by five pit bulls while playing in her yard. The girl was transported to a local hospital where authorities said she required 17 staples and 20 stitches.

– Smithville coach, Dwight Bowling, sent shockwaves throughout the community when he was arrested for fondling and having sex with minor males. Bowling allegedly committed these acts while fishing and engaging in other recreational activities with the boys. Bowling later pleads guilty to 14 counts of charges filed against him in Monroe and Itawamba counties. He is sentenced to 30 years in jail.

– A man and his wife are arrested after they allegedly charged the Rankin County School District more than $80,000 for lawn services and products they did not provide. Clinton residents Malcolm Anthony Sanders and his wife, Dolister, were arrested on April 11 and charged. A third person, Joseph Baker, Jr., was later charged in the case.

– Numerous people are killed after a tornado rips through Smithville in Monroe County. The town and more than 200 homes are essentially leveled by the destructiveness of the twister. Temporary lodging was set up for Smithville residents by county officials. The town is still trying to rebuild. Officials later confirm that at least 14 prople were killed in Smithville and 35 statewide after a record number of tornadoes broke out throughout the south.

– A former Jackson County clerk who plead guilty to stealing nearly $1 million during her seven years as finance clerk, is found dead two days later in her jail cell. Fifty-year old Ginger Lashley confessed to one of the biggest embezzlement scams in state history, which she said she did to pay for her medical and living expenses. Lashley’s death was attributed to a heart condition.


– The rising waters of the Mississippi River forces thousands to evacuate their homes, from the north to the south. State and federal officials are bracing for what they believe is a catastrophic disaster. Excessive rainfalls causes the third longest river in North America, to reach dangerously high levels surpassing the historic records set during the Great Floods of 1927 and 1937.

– A 30-year old Gulfport police officer, Adam Dedeaux, is arrested and charged with felony child abuse along with his girlfriend, after her 2-year-old child showed signs of physical abuse.

– Benny Joe Stevens is executed at Parchman for killing four people in 1998. Prosecutors said Stevens killed his ex-wife, their 11-year old son, his ex-wife’s husband and his son’s 12-year-old friend. He also shot his 16-year-old daughter in the back.

– Several days later, another inmate, Rodney Gray, is executed at Parchman for the rape and murder of a 79-year-old woman.

– On May 24, four hours before he was scheduled to die by lethal injection at Parchman, Death Row inmate Robert Simon is issued a stay of execution. Attorneys for Simon question his mental capacity after he falls in prison and hits his head. Simon was convicted of torturing and killing a family of four after they came home from church.

– A 34-year-old math teacher and coach at Ocean Springs Middle School is arrested for having sex with a 13-year-old student. Grady Brown was placed on administrative leave pending his alleged relationship with the female student.

– Mississippi honors the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement by remembering the sacrifice of the 1961 Freedom Riders. During May 1961, a repeated flow of college students from across America poured into the south in “peaceful” protests of segregated interstate travels. They met with violence, hostility and cruel imprisonment in Mississippi, being shipped off to the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman.

– A 14-year-old Vicksburg teen, Tyla Vega, allegedly shoots her stepmother in the head and runs away in her vehicle. Vega remains a fugitive for several days before she is discovered in Greenville. She is charged with capital murder and arrested.

– Former Greene County Supervisor Earnest Holder III, is convicted of bribery, conspiracy to commit bribery and perjury before a federal grand jury for his role in a fraudulent Hurricane Katrina scheme. Holder is sentenced to six years in prison.

– Civil Rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer is honored with a Mississippi Freedom Trail maker in Ruleville. Hamer, the first woman honored on the trial, was instrumental in voting rights and the historic modification of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Markers for Emmett Till and Medgar Evers preceded Hamer’s unveiling.


– A soldier from Tishomingo County was killed while serving in Afghanistan. Twenty-one-year-old Sgt. Christopher R. Bell, of Golden, was among four soldiers killed while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. Officials said the soldiers died from injuries sustained on June 4 when insurgents attacked their unit with an improvised explosive device.

– As a quick moving storm toppled street signs and ripped the roof off a grocery store in Webster County, damaging winds caused a massive tree to fall on a family’s camper in Panola County killing an elderly woman and her infant great granddaughter. Mary Evelyn Brower, of Clarksdale, and her 6-month-old great granddaughter, Bell LeCompte, were vacationing at Sardis Lake with other family members when the storm came through.

– Four members of the Simon City Royal Gang are charged with luring a 16-year-old boy to a party, where they later robbed and beat him, stripped him of his clothes and urinated on him.

– Jamar Shelton is arrested for allegedly beating his mother and little brother with a baseball bat. He flees in a stolen car after the attack.

– Dr. Lonnie Edwards announces, just one day before his three-year contract was set to expire, that he’s calling it quits as chief of the second largest school district in Mississippi, the Jackson Public School System.

– James Craig Anderson, a black 49-year old car plant worker from Jackson, is run over by a white 19-year old man, Deryl Paul Dedmon. The incident, which was later labeled a ‘hate crime’ was captured on video and Dedmon and a second suspect, John Aaron Rice, were arrested. Authorities said Dedmon later bragged to his friends that he ran over a “n- – – -r.”


– A 60-year-old Lawrence County woman was sentenced to 20 years in prison, with 10 to serve after prosecutors said she sexually assaulted her granddaughter killing her. Mary Grandberry, of Silver Creek, was arrested in 2004 after her 4-month old granddaughter, Daria K’Mya Grandberry, was taken to the hospital. Daria died of internal hemorrhaging as a result of molestation. The elder Grandberry plead to the lesser charge of sexual battery in what was originally a capital murder case. Family members said Grandberry has a drug problem.

– Congressman Bennie Thompson said The United States Department of Health and Human Services awarded a $13,436,860 discretionary grant to Mississippi Action For Progress, Inc. (MAP), for their Head Start Programs project. MAP is a comprehensive, community-based child development and family services program primarily for preschool children of low income families.

– Betty Walker accidentally kills her husband while shooting at a dog. Jackson police said that an 8-month old pit bull named, Cocaine, lunged at Walker’s grandchildren when she ran in the house and got a gun. Her husband, Robert, was holding the dog when she fired two shots, hitting the dog in the leg and her husband in the chest.

– Andrew D. Owens of Shannon is charged with killing his girlfriend’s 2-year old son, Kamari Stobey. Authorities found the child unresponsive after responding to the residence. Kamari died of blunt force trauma to the abdomen.


– The USDA Rural Development presented one of its largest awards, $13 million, to Lowndes County. The award promises to bring jobs to the 5 tri-county area.

– An early morning blaze kills a Jackson mom and her four children in their apartment complex. Dominique Henderson, lived in a second floor apartment at the Lakeview Apartments with her four children aged 7, 5, 3 and 2. The bodies of two of the children were discovered during the blaze and the other two after the fire was extinguished.

– The smash hit film, ‘The Help,’ based on the book by Mississippi native Kathryn Stockett shatters the box office competition by remaining at number one for several weeks. ‘The Help’, which was filmed largely in Greenwood, is based on relationships between white families in Mississippi and the black women who worked for them during the 1960s. Earlier in the year, 60-year-old Ablene Cooper, who works for Stockett’s brother, sued Stockett alleging that the main character in the film, Aibileen Clark, was based on her. Cooper said her image and likeness were used in the film without her permission. A judge disagreed and dismissed her case.

– Entergy pledges $1 million to help customers deal with extreme heat and high energy bills. Entergy shareholders provided $500,000 to local nonprofit agencies that provided bill payment assistance to elderly and disabled customers who need assistance.

– A 12-year-old girl is killed when a family friend accidentally backs over her in his truck. Kaitlynn Reiser of St. Martin was leaving softball practice with her friends when a friend was talking to her stepfather and put his car in reverse. Reiser was standing behind the truck at the time.

– Two Carroll County deputies plead self defense for shooting into the wrong car. Holmes County Sheriff Willie March said the deputies were pursuing one vehicle when they lost it and shot into another vehicle driven by a Holmes County man. The driver of that car was not injured when Deputy John Kevin Beck fired at least nine shots into his car. Deputy Curtis Alford was with Beck during the pursuit.


– While the National Weather Service downgraded Tropical Storm Lee to a tropical depression, residents in Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi continued to feel the effects. At least two deaths were blamed on the storm that dumped more than a foot of rain on New Orleans and spun off tornadoes in at least two other states. Joplin, Missouri was also leveled by the storms.

– Forty-nine year old John Langworthy was arrested at his Clinton home and charged with sexual crimes against several boys. Langworthy, a music teacher and youth minister is accused of molesting boys during the 1980s.

– A Mississippi cancer doctor and two of her employees are charged with diluting chemotherapy drugs and using old needles on her patients as part of a multimillion dollar Medicaid and Medicare fraud scheme. Dr. Meera Sachdeva, the 50-year-old owner of Rose Cancer Clinic in Summit, has been jailed in the case since Aug. 11. Two judges deemed her a flight risk and ordered her held without bond.

– The Emmett Till Historic Intrepid Center (ETHIC) reopens in Glendora. The building for the museum is the old Glendora Cotton Gin which is allegedly where Till’s murderers obtained the gin fan used to lynch the 14-year-old Chicago teen. Till’s murder launched the Civil Rights Movement.

– Three people were found shot to death in a mobile home in Gulfport. Police have no suspects in the murders of 48-year-old Gloria Morgan; her son, Clarence Payton, 28, and Charles Durr, 63.


– The internationally known Staple Singers are honored with a marker on the Mississippi Blues Trail. The patriarch of the gospel turned pop group, Roebuck ‘Pops’ Staples earned a marker on his own which was placed in Winona in Montgomery County where he was born. Pops grew up in Drew and started singing there as a youngster.

– Christopher Bradley was charged with murder after he allegedly shot into a car hitting a 2-year-old boy on the back set in the head. Romerion Rhodes was in the car with his father, Robert Magee, when the shots were fired. Magee was shot in the top of the head and the lower back.

– General Mills celebrates African American moms. More than 60 area moms gathered at the Roberts Walthall Hotel for the kickoff of the local Feeding Dreams Get Together initiative program. The Feeding the Dreams Get Togethers initiative provides intimate forums in communities across the country to discuss efforts to positively impact health and education in African-American communities.

– Two men were charged with capital murder after they strike Grenada Police officer John Wayne Haddock with their car. Kyle David Wendt and Thomas Leland Lee were being pursued by Grenada County deputies when Officer Haddock was attempting to stop them by laying down spike strips.

– Four football players from Ole Miss are suspended for what Coach Houston Nutt said were ‘breaking team rules.’ Starting running back Brandon Bolden, center A.J. Hawkins, wide receiver/return specialist Philander Moore and offensive guard Alex Washington were suspended for one game.

– A 29-year-old Harrison County man is arrested for allegedly strangling his mother to death and dumping her body in the woods. Ryan Allen Abeyta was charged with the murder of 56-year-old Pamela Marlene Santiago.

– Jackson businessman Craig Noone is killed in a two-car accident in Jackson on Oct. 14. Noone is the executive chef and owner of the Parlor Market Restaurant.

– An 8-year-old girl returning from school in D’Iberville finds her parents and her aunt stabbed to death in her home. Her parents, 40-year-old Mei Rong Li, and her husband, Rong Chen, 40, owned the Chinese Happiness restaurant in D’Iberville. Li’s sister, 53-year-old Mei Jin Li lived with the family. The family was from China, and the couple’s four children, ages 8 to 16, were placed in foster care.

– A 17-year old Winona teen is captured in Grenada after he allegedly killed a Grenada County man and dumped his body on a rural road in Montgomery County. Dillon Markel Seals is charged with capital murder after the body of Roy Sanders was found. Grenada County already had charges on Seals for allegedly stealing a funeral home van from Winona earlier in the summer and kidnapping Sanders’ teenage daughter. Seals and the girl were reportedly in a relationship.

– Lockheed Martin officially opens a new 33,000 square-foot center in Clinton which will eventually employ about 350 people.

– Walnut Grove Mayor William Grady Sims is arrested and charged with sexually assaulting an inmate while he was employed as warden of the local jail. Authorities said Sims later tried to cover up the alleged crime.

– An 82-year old homeowner shoots and wounds a man after he breaks into his home and attacks his wife. Paul Mikell heard his wife screaming in their Jackson home and came running with a gun. Mikell said he was tired of people “messing” with him. No charges were filed against Mikell. The suspect, Sidney Humbles, ran away and was arrested when he sought medical attention at UMC.

– A personal care home operator is sentenced to one year in jail for illegally housing 16 vulnerable adults in a three-bedroom personal care home. Fifty-three-year-old Helen Page pled guilty to 15 counts of misdemeanor neglect of vulnerable persons in her care and one count of operating without a license. Prosecutors said all of the residents suffered from various mental health issues and had been shut up and locked in the structure without the ability to escape in the event of an emergency.


– Three Ole Miss freshmen are killed when their car plunges over Interstate-55 and falls about 50 to 100 feet off the overpass to the highway below in Vaiden. Samuel Clayton Kelly, 18, is pronounced dead at the scene, as are his passengers: Bryant Mason Wilbanks, 19, and Charles Walker Kelly, also 19. All three were from Madison and were returning to school after visiting their families.

– The mayor of Southaven, Greg Davis, is ordered by the state auditor to pay back the more than $170,000 he owes the city for personal and travel expenses, including psychological counseling for his family. Davis charged these amounts on city credit cards which are paid by the City of Southaven, but he refused to surrender the statements listing the itemized purchases.

– Mississippi’s Attorney General Jim Hood remains the lone Democrat in statewide office in Mississippi. Hood handily defeated Republican opponent Steve Simpson in November for a third term as the state’s top legal officer. Added to Republican Phil Bryant’s election as governor, the GOP will hold six of the seven statewide offices.

– An 83-year-old man, Oree Elvin Thornton, kills his 78-year old wife, Ethel, his 50-year-old son Elvin Anthony, and then turns the gun on himself at their Smith County residence. Smith County officials have no motive in the double murder suicide.

– A Jackson police officer is arrested and charged with killing his 1-year-old daughter. Thirty-six-year old Natyyo Gray was charged after police were called to UMC Hospital where 1-year-old Aubrey Brown was brought in with unknown injuries. Aubrey died a few hours later with what an autopsy report confirmed as “internal hemorrhaging due to severe blunt force trauma to the abdomen. Gray is a detective assigned to the Vice and Narcotics Unit.

– Former prosecutor in Medgar Evers murder case dies. William Waller Sr., who as a district attorney twice unsuccessfully prosecuted the man eventually convicted of killing civil rights leader Medgar Evers, died at the age of 85 on Nov. 30. Though the prosecution by Waller ended in two mistrials, the trial testimony of almost 60 witnesses and the introduction of more than 50 pieces of evidence were preserved. The trial transcript was crucial in 1994 when prosecutor Bobby DeLaughter, using the same physical evidence Waller used, was able to secure a guilty verdict when blacks were able to serve on the jury.


– Twenty students from Montgomery County were injured, two critically, when their school bus was hit by a log truck on Lodi Road and Highway 82. Officials said the driver of the school bus said he was blinded by the sun and pulled out in front of the log truck about 7 a.m. on Dec. 2. The force of the impact knocked the bus on its side paralyzing high school senior Stevelyn Robinson and critically injuring his sister, 7th grader, Jazzlyn.

– Ole Miss hires Hugh Freeze as their new football coach after firing Houston Nutt. Nutt finished up one of the “worst seasons in Ole Miss history,” officials said. Freeze comes to the Rebels from Arkansas State, where he led the Red Wolves to the 2011 Sun Belt Conference championship and 10-2 record in his first season as a coach at the Football Bowl Subdivision level. It was Arkansas State’s first 10-win season since 1986.

– Craig O’Brien is officially charged with the murder of New Albany resident Amanda Price. Price, who is the wife of New Albany football coach, Ron Price, was shot to death outside her home as she took her dog outside. Officials said O’Brien was allegedly going to break into the home when he was startled by Price. Ron Price was shot in the shoulder when he ran outside to help his wife.

– State wildlife officials say two people have died in hunting-related incidents but overall the 2011-12 season has had a safe start. Jerry Carter, with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, said one death was caused by a fall from a tree stand and the other was firearm related. Thirteen additional hunting accidents have been reported.

– State officials confirm that an outbreak of salmonella cases in Corinth are linked to the food at the Don Julio Mexican Restaurant. Investigators learned all 59 people infected were customers or employees of the restaurant, which is now closed.

– A Jackson man and his brother are sentenced to jail for orchestrating what federal officials are calling one of the largest commercial mortgage fraud crimes in the history of the state. Charles H. Evans, Jr. is sentenced to 20 years, and his brother and co-conspirator, Jon Christopher Evans, 53 , also of Jackson, is sentenced to 14 years. Their scheme encompassed over $80 million dollars worth of loans, involved almost 30 shell or fictitious corporations created by the defendants to launder the fraudulently-obtained mortgage proceeds in order to perpetuate and conceal their crimes, and adversely affected almost 50 financial institutions and local governments.

– A high-school basketball coach suspended last season for whipping players with a weight belt has temporarily stepped down while Jackson Public Schools investigate a complaint about his conduct after a November game. Officials said Marlon Dorsey allegedly “fussed” too much after Murrah High School’s Nov. 17 game against Yazoo City. Dorsey was fired last season after Murrah players said he whipped them, but was allowed to resume coaching after a 25-day suspension. Three players have sued him and other officials. According to court records, Dorsey says he whipped players for disciplinary problems.

– A woman who allowed 15 mentally challenged people to live in her personal care home without adequate provisions will spend the next 25 years behind bars. Stephanie Fields plead guilty to 18 different charges after she was arrested for running a personal care home where the residents lived with no heat, little food and no running water. Fields was also an accessory in the death of one of her residents.

– Detroit’s Ellis bestows a noble task on a Mississippi friend. Bishop Charles H. Ellis III, pastor of the Greater Grace Temple in Detroit, came to Holmes County earlier this month for the consecration celebration of Pastor Raymon T. Carter as bishop of the Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church. Ellis, who is also Presiding Bishop of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World (PAW), Inc., performed the consecration ceremony in Lexington. The event is historic in that it is rare in Mississippi for a Pentecostal Bishop to consecrate a Missionary Baptist Pastor as Bishop.

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