Court term slated to see very few trials

TUPELO – Trials look few and far between for Lee County’s August term of circuit court, which began Monday at the Lee County Justice Center.
Some 275 criminal cases are on the docket, but historically most that get attention are likely to be plea deals, which means avoiding a trial. Fifteen cases are scheduled for sentencing during the term.
Nearly 250 charges from grand jury indictments also are scheduled to be heard during arraignments, which is where defendants hear the charges against them and enter a plea.
Perhaps the most notable case on the docket is for defendant William Andrew Francis, charged with culpable negligence manslaughter in the death of a state trooper during a high-speed chase in north Lee County.
The case has been on the docket across several court terms.
Several defense motions have yet to be decided, so its Aug. 23 trial date isn’t likely. Francis’ attorney is Anthony Farese of Ashland.
Farese also represents Jonathan D. Sachse, charged with DUI death and DUI maiming in a 2008 vehicle accident on U.S. Highway 45 near the Green Street exit.
This case also is set for trial Aug. 23.
But defense attorney Will Bristow of Tupelo said he expects Justin D. Springer’s capital murder case to begin on its scheduled date, Aug. 30.
Among the docketed cases, which have moved along through several court terms, are:
n Johnathan D. Gill, accused of statutory rape and culpable negligence homicide. He is represented by Timothy Tucker.
n Steveland Hood, charged with kidnapping and aggravated assault, set for call Aug. 25. Farese is his attorney.
n Bobby Brinker, charged with murder, set for call Aug. 26. Bristow, his attorney, has asked for a delay.
Bristow also is asking the court to dismiss an 18-year-old rape charge against Roderick H. Long, saying it violates his right to a speedy trial.

Contact Patsy R. Brumfield at (662) 678-1596 or patsy.brumfield@djournal.com.

Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal