Mississippi inmate denied appeal in Clay County murder case

By The Associated Press

JACKSON — The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear claims from Mississippi inmate Joey Chandler, who was seeking a new trial on a murder charge in Clay County.

Chandler was convicted in 2004 and sentenced to life in prison for the death of his cousin, Emmitt Chandler, in the Pheba community on Aug. 17, 2003.

According to the court record, the shooting occurred after the two had argued and had struggled over a gun that Joey Chandler was carrying. Joey Chandler claimed the gun went off during the fight.

There was no testimony to support Joey Chandler’s version of the shooting, according to the court record. Witnesses for the prosecutor testified that the two men were facing each other when Joey Chandler shot his cousin.

Prosecutors said the gun was fired three times with two shots hitting Emmitt Chandler. They said that since the gun was a revolver, the weapon’s trigger actually had to be pulled three times for it to fire that many times.

A Mississippi court upheld Chandler’s conviction in 2006 and later denied his post-conviction claims.

A federal judge in Mississippi and the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans also denied Chandler’s post-conviction petitions.

In a post-conviction petition, an inmate argues he has found new evidence — or a possible constitutional issue — that could persuade a court to order a new trial.

The U.S. Supreme Court denied Chandler’s petition Monday.

Chandler claimed his attorney could have done a better job and that the trial court erred when it didn’t tell the jury it could consider self-defense.

The 5th Circuit said last fall that Chandler failed to prove that any of the issues he raised could have persuaded a jury that he was innocent.