AG gets more time to reply to ’96 slayings appeal in Winona case

FILE - In this Feb. 6, 2004 file photo, Curtis Giovanni Flowers, left, listens to testimony in his third capital murder trial in Winona, Miss. Flowers has been convicted four times in six trials for the 1996 slayings of four workers at a Winona furniture store. Two trials in Montgomery County ended with hung juries. Flowers' fourth conviction came in 2010 and he was sentenced to death. In 2013, he is back before the Mississippi Supreme Court asking that his conviction and sentence be tossed out. (AP Photo/Winona Times, Dale Gerstenslager, Pool, File)

FILE – In this Feb. 6, 2004 file photo, Curtis Giovanni Flowers, left, listens to testimony in his third capital murder trial in Winona, Miss. Flowers has been convicted four times in six trials for the 1996 slayings of four workers at a Winona furniture store. Two trials in Montgomery County ended with hung juries. Flowers’ fourth conviction came in 2010 and he was sentenced to death. In 2013, he is back before the Mississippi Supreme Court asking that his conviction and sentence be tossed out. (AP Photo/Winona Times, Dale Gerstenslager, Pool, File)

The Associated Press

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The attorney general’s office has been given more time to respond to Curtis Giovanni Flowers’ latest appeal of his conviction for the 1996 slayings of four workers at a Winona furniture store.

The Mississippi Supreme Court has given Attorney General Jim Hood until Sept. 18 to response to Flowers’ arguments. Flowers’ attorney will then have until Oct. 18 to file a rebuttal.

Two trials in Montgomery County ended with hung juries. Three trials ended in convictions, but the high court reversed them. Flowers’ fourth conviction came in 2010. He was sentenced to death.

Flowers was convicted of capital murder for the July 16, 1996, fatal shootings of Tardy Furniture store owner Bertha Tardy, 59; and employees Carmen Rigby, 45; Robert Golden, 42; and Derrick “BoBo” Stewart, 16. All had been shot in the head.

Prosecutors described Flowers as a disgruntled employee who’d been fired from his job at the store. They said Flowers didn’t receive his last paycheck because the owner kept it as payment for golf cart batteries she believed he had damaged.

Defense attorneys argued that Flowers was at a relative’s home at the time of the murders and that no one saw him go in or come out of the store on the day of the murders.

In a brief filed June 18, Flowers’ attorney, Alison Steiner, argues no physical evidence links Flowers to the crimes. She said prosecutors presented a series of witnesses intended to show that Flowers could have stolen a gun and was in the vicinity of the furniture store on the morning of the murders,” Steiner wrote.

Among those testifying at Flowers’ 2010 trial was a woman who said she saw Flowers running out of the store at the time of the killings. Another witness, a firearms expert, testified that the residue found on Flowers’ right hand the day of the slayings was in a spot consistent with firing a handgun, according to the court record.