By Patsy Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – District Attorney Trent Kelly said Monday he plans to “reflect” a bit on Friday’s mistrial before deciding what’s next in the Thomas James Ward case.
“I’d like to give it a little time and reflect on it,” Kelly said just days after the nine-day trial ended in a hung jury.
Ward, 25, of Saltillo went to trial May 1 accused of depraved-heart murder in the April 15, 2010, shooting death of Anna Catherine McCoy.
He and his attorney, Victor Fleitas of Tupelo, insisted her death was a tragic accident, not murder.
The state, led by Kelly and assistant district attorneys Richard Bowen and Josh Wise, told the 12-member jury that Ward was so reckless with his new .40-caliber handgun that the charge in McCoy’s death rose to the level of depraved-heart, for which a conviction means mandatory life in prison.
Monday, Kelly said his office “will proceed in the normal process” with the case, which they can try again.
When the case went to the jury last Wednesday, the seven men and five women considered the depraved-heart charge and a lesser charge, manslaughter by culpable negligence, for which the judge sets punishment up to 20 years.
They also considered Ward’s acquittal.
The jury forewoman told Judge James L. Roberts Jr. they were not unanimous on any outcome.
Ward remains in jail awaiting an outcome on an arrest for which his bond was revoked a few weeks before trial when he was accused of leading police on a high-speed chase through Saltillo.