Trial delay for inmates charged in Mississippi slaying

By The Associated Press

JACKSON — The trial for two Louisiana inmates charged with killing an Ohio businessman in Mississippi has been delayed until next year.

Ricky Wedgeworth and Darian “Drake” Pierce are charged with kidnapping David Cupps from a hotel in Vicksburg, Miss., after escaping from the Louisiana State Police compound in Baton Rouge on March 4, 2011. They were part of a work detail at the compound.

Cupps, a 53-year-old from Sunbury, Ohio, was in Mississippi to inspect the Grand Gulf nuclear power plant south of Vicksburg. Authorities say he was attacked for his rental car and beaten and strangled. His body was dumped in Bessemer, Ala.

The inmates were caught March 14, 2011, after crashing a truck in Memphis, Tenn. Police said that before their capture, the men tied up a county park worker and stole a government parks department truck from Madison County, Tenn.

The trial had been scheduled for next month, but is now set for Feb. 11 in U.S. District Court in Natchez.

Pierce’s lawyer, Joe Hollomon, said in a court filing that he spent considerable time working to convince federal prosecutors not to seek the death penalty in the case. Hollomon said he needs more time to prepare for trial. Prosecutors have decided not to seek the death penalty.

Wedgeworth and Pierce were indicted on multiple charges in U.S. District Court in Jackson, Miss. They’re charged with kidnapping resulting in death and carjacking resulting in death as well as conspiracy and transporting a stolen vehicle.

They have pleaded not guilty.

Authorities have said Wedgeworth is from Memphis, Tenn. Pierce is from of Bogalusa, La.

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