Clarksdale slaying case before state high court

By Jack Elliott Jr./The Associated Press

JACKSON — Joe Morgan has appealed his 2012 conviction in Coahoma County for the fatal shooting of two men at a Clarksdale nightclub.

Morgan’s appeal is among dozens the Mississippi Supreme Court will consider during its May-June term. A decision in Morgan’s case is expected later this year.

Morgan, now 24, was convicted of murder in the death of Damien Talbert and of manslaughter in the slaying of Ricky Thomas In January 2011.

Authorities say the shooting took place outside Chris Don’s nightclub and stemmed from a fight earlier inside the club.

The club closed down after the incident.

Prosecutors say Talbert was pronounced dead at the scene while Thomas died at a Clarksdale hospital.

Morgan argues that prosecutors didn’t have evidence to prove he shot the men.

Authorities said Talbert was shot with a .40-caliber gun. A bullet passed through Talbert, who died at the scene, and struck Thomas, they said.

Morgan has maintained he is innocent.

Among other cases the Supreme Court will hear during its term:

— David Waits’ appeal of his manslaughter conviction for the shooting of a man outside a Jackson convenience store in 2010. Waits was convicted in Hinds County in 2012 and sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Waits had claimed he was acting in self-defense when he shot 32-year-old Waivous McGee.

Authorities said McGee was shot 17 times on April 9, 2010. Authorities said the two men had argued earlier.

— Corey Thompson’s appeal of his 12-year sentence for his role in a fatal robbery at Confederate Ridge Apartments in Vicksburg.

Thompson was convicted of two counts of armed robbery in Warren County in 2012.

During the robbery, 19-year-old Maurice Morris was shot and killed.

— An appeal from Malcolm Clifton Weeks of Florence, who was sentenced to 45 years in prison in Rankin County in 2012 for molesting a 14-year-old girl.

Prosecutors said Weeks was convicted on two counts of sexual battery and one count of gratification of lust. He was sentenced to 60 years, with 15 years of the sentence suspended.

Prosecutors said the abuse came to light in September 2010 and had been ongoing for several months.

— Joe Earl Cole’s appeal of his 2012 convictions of sexual battery and gratification of lust in Rankin County involving three children who were 7-9 years of age when the crimes occurred.

Prosecutors said Cole was sentenced to 35 years in prison with 10 years suspended. Cole was arrested in 2010 after Pearl police investigated reports that several young girls had been fondled at Cole’s home, prosecutors said.