Union County prepares for capital murder trial

Union County Stock ImageBy Patsy R. Brumfield

Daily Journal

NEW ALBANY – Former volunteer fireman William Cody Lambert is due for trial Nov. 12 on capital murder and arson charges.

Meanwhile, the Union County circuit court will hear both sides’ lawyers argue whether he is psychologically capable of being tried.

Lambert was 22 when he was indicted Oct. 8, 2009, on three counts – the most serious, the murder of Myrtle Mae Owen at her 1002 County Road 174 home in Union County. He also is accused of setting afire her house and another at 1390 Highway 9 West, belonging to William Hamilton.

Lambert pleaded not guilty, and faces up to the death penalty or life in prison if convicted on the capital murder charge.

Capital murder is charged when a murder occurs during the commission of another felony, in this case it’s alleged to be burglary.

Conviction on the arson charges calls for imprisonment from two to 20 years in prison. In February 2010, a psychological evaluation was ordered on Lambert to determine his mental status at the time of the alleged offenses, as well as his present IQ.

Subsequent evaluations also seek analysis of his mental capacity to assist counsel with his defense and whether he understood waiver of his constitutional rights at the time he gave a statement to law enforcement.

He is represented by Oxford attorney Christi R. McCoy. Subpoenas were ordered for all of his Lee County school records, including special education records, and for employment records when he worked for a Tupelo sporting goods store from September 2008 until September 2009.

Lambert also faces a six-count arson indictment in Lee County, but authorities say they will wait for the Union County case to play out before taking him to court.

patsy.brumfield@journalinc.com