Mississippi high court upholds Gause conviction

By The Associated Press

JACKSON — A Pontotoc man once described by defense attorneys as a “fool in love” has lost an appeal of his manslaughter conviction.

However, the Mississippi Supreme Court on Thursday threw out Curtis Wayne Gause’s burglary conviction because of an erroneous jury instruction.

Gause was convicted in 2008 in Pontotoc County of killing of a man he found in bed with his estranged wife.

Prosecutors said Gause stabbed Jeffery Swords on March 22, 2008, at Tracy Gause’s trailer in Ecru.

Defense attorneys said during closing arguments that Curtis Wayne Gause was not a cold-blooded killer but a “fool in love” with his estranged wife when he killed Swords.

Gause was sentenced to 20 years for manslaughter. He was also sentenced to 25 years, with 15 years suspended, for burglary, which was thrown out by the Supreme Court. The sentences were to run consecutively.

Gause testified that he went to the trailer early in the morning to help Tracy Gause prepare for a yard sale. Gause said he “just snapped” when he saw his estranged wife in bed with Swords.

Gause testified he broke out the windows of the victim’s truck, sliced the tires with a pocket knife and then pushed the front door in of the mobile home, went to the bedroom where his wife, Tracy, and Swords were and jumped on him. Gause described the stabbing as an accident.

Prosecutors said it would be difficult to “accidentally” stab someone five times. Prosecutors said Gause’s sole purpose that day was to assault his estranged wife and to kill Swords.