Judge rules against Howell on all points of new trial

By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

NEW ALBANY – A special judge denied all issues offered by attorneys for a death-row inmate convicted in the 2001 shooting death in New Albany.
Monday, Senior Judge Samac Richardson of Rankin County issued a ruling from a three-day evidentiary hearing in New Albany. The hearing aimed at fleshing out questions raised by his appeals to the Mississippi Supreme Court.
Howell was convicted of capital murder in the death of David Pernell as he delivered newspapers in the early morning hours.
His defense team insisted Howell’s identification was erroneous, his jail lineup tainted by a lack of an attorney and other issues.
Richardson discounted them, saying all were without merit.
District Attorney Ben Creekmore, part of the state hearing team last month, expressed his appreciation for the decision, saying it was the right one.
He said the case is back in the lap of the state Supreme Court.
“They could agree or they could order a new trial,” he said Monday in Houston, where he prosecuted a trial in justice court.
Howell’s team, led by North Carolina attorney Billy Richardson and the Innocence Project of Mississippi, expressed disappointment but said they will continue to push for his vindication or a new trial.
They also claimed prosecutors knew about key mistakes but failed to rectify them across the past 13 years. His co-defendants, Curtis Lipsey and Adam Ray, are serving lengthy prison sentences on lesser charges after they said Howell was the shooter. Years later, they both recanted.
patsy.brumfield@journalinc.com