Lafayette grand jury returns murder, manslaughter indictments

By Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal

OXFORD – Lafayette County grand jurors have returned indictments for four homicides, including one that involved a hostage situation.
Bilethon Autry of Oxford was indicted on a charge of capital murder and another of aggravated assault on a police officer for the Sept. 29, 2009, standoff in which police and witnesses said he shot and killed his brother, Charles Ray Hodges of Milwaukee.
Autry is also accused of shooting at Oxford Police officer Gaylen Michaels before SWAT teams stormed the house in the exclusive Grand Oaks neighborhood of Oxford and arrested him without further violence.
Other family members had also been inside the house but escaped physically unharmed.
James O. Harwell was indicted for the April 13, 2009, murder of his wife, Chris Ann Milam Harwell. The couple had reportedly argued throughout the Easter weekend before their contention elevated into gunfire, leaving the victim dead on the front porch of their rural Lafayette County home.
Jilisa Jefferies was indicted on a charge of manslaughter by culpable negligence in the death of her son, Christian. Jefferies allegedly placed the newborn in the floorboard of a car outside, leaving him exposed for about 24 hours to temperatures that reached as low as the 30s.

Other indictments
Three additional people were charged with aggravated assault. One victim in one case was shot with a .380 Ruger pistol, another was stabbed with a sharp instrument and the third suffered injury after the defendant allegedly punched him several times with fists and then kicked him in the jaw. In addition, one defendant was indicted for shooting into an occupied dwelling.
As reported previously, two former University of Mississippi employees were handed indictments on embezzlement. A former Dollar General employee was also indicted on embezzlement.
Six men were charged with sexual battery and/or touching a child for lustful purposes.
Other indictments included grand larceny, receiving stolen property, burglary (auto, dwelling, commercial and church), ID and credit card fraud, false pretense (bad check), simple assault on a law enforcement officer, and felony levels of malicious mischief, shoplifting and DUI.