BRIEFING

By PATSY BRUMFIELD / NEMS Daily Journal

Washington County
Police chief pleads not guilty to threat
• GREENVILLE – Greenville’s suspended police chief, Charles Patterson, has pleaded not guilty to simple assault by threatening.
Patterson’s attorney, Ed Blackmon, entered the plea for Patterson on Monday. A court appearance for Patterson was set for Feb. 2.
Patterson was suspended without pay in September after three women — Kela Miller, Ne’Cura Swilley and Kiara Richardson — signed affidavits that Patterson threatened them.
Hinds County
Death row inmates ask for trial over legal help
• JACKSON – Fifteen death row inmates have asked the Mississippi Supreme Court to reinstate their lawsuit that challenges how the state provides legal help for post-conviction claims.
The brief was filed Monday with the court.
The original lawsuit included 16 inmates. One of the plaintiffs, Gerald James Holland, was executed May 20.
A Hinds County judge dismissed the case on May 14. The Supreme Court in July declined to stop executions while it considered the appeal.
None of the remaining 15 inmates, including two from Northeast Mississippi, has had an execution date set through Monday.
The lawsuit claims the Mississippi Office of Capital Post-Conviction Counsel was inadequately staffed and funded and its attorneys were not versed in handling death row appeals.
The state office was created in 2000 to lift the burden off counties to pay for continuing death row appeals.
The attorney general’s office will file a response to the appeal sometime later.
The two Northeast Mississippi inmates at Michelle Byrom, who was convicted of killling her husband in Tishomingo County, and Willie Jerom Manning, convicted in Oktibbeha County of four slayings.
LEFLORE COUNTY
Teen faces manslaughter charge in shooting death
• GREENWOOD — Greenwood Police Chief Henry Purnell says a teenager faces a charge of involuntary manslaughter after an accidental shooting Monday.
Purnell says the 17-year-old suspect allegedly was loading a gun as he was riding in a car. Purnell says the gun discharged, striking the driver, 22-year-old Antron McGee. Purnell said McGee died later at a hospital.
Purnell said there was a group of people in the vehicle, riding around with weapons. The others could also face charges, and the investigation continues, he said.
LAFAYETTE COUNTY
More time granted for Scruggs response
• OXFORD – Prosecutors get another 15 days to answer Zach Scruggs’ motion to vacate his conviction in connection with a judicial bribery case.
Senior U.S. District Judge Neal Biggers set Nov. 2 for the response from the U.S. attorney’s office, which had asked for 30 days past the original Sept. 16 deadline to respond.
They told the judge they needed to hear from the U.S. Department of Justice, which seeks to set guidelines in response to a new U.S. Supreme Court decision related to the “honest services” statute.
Scruggs and others have appealed their cases, contending they were prosecuted for crimes that no longer exist.
– Daily Journal, wire reports