Man pleads guilty to manslaughter, kidnapping

By JB Clark/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – A Greenwood man pleaded guilty Thursday to a reduced charge of manslaughter and two counts of kidnapping in last year’s shooting death of Shirely Morris.
The incident occurred in April 2011 on Green Tee Road in Lee County.
Keith Lamont Darby, 31, of Greenwood, was sentenced by Circuit Court Judge Thomas J. Gardner III.
Darby was sentenced to 20 years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections for one count of manslaughter. He received 30 years, 15 of which will be suspended, for the first charge of kidnapping, and an additional 30-year suspended sentence for the second kidnapping charge.
District Attorney Trent Kelly said the sentence was reduced in order to guarantee time would be served.
“Anytime you can get 35 years for someone his age, that’s a long time to serve guaranteed, as opposed to going to court where something could go wrong,” Kelly said. “We spoke to the victims and told them, and they were in agreement before we presented it to the court.”
After entering his guilty plea, Darby turned to Morris’ sobbing family to offer an apology.
“I’m sorry y’all, and I hope you can forgive,” he said.
Darby will be required to pay $100 to the Mississippi Crime Victim Compensation Fund and $1,000 to the Mississippi Children’s Trust Fund.
jb.clark@journalinc.com