September 11, 2017 9:52:32 AM
HATTIESBURG -- A Mississippi man who was present when two police officers were killed in 2015 has pleaded guilty to hindering prosecution.
Cornelius Clark entered the plea Friday before Forrest County Circuit Judge Bob Helfrich in Hattiesburg.
Clark was in a car with Marvin Banks when Banks allegedly shot and killed Hattiesburg officers Benjamin Deen and Liquori Tate during a traffic stop on May 9, 2015. The shooting was recorded by a police dashboard camera.
Deen was shot in the face; Tate, in the lower back. Both officers were wearing bullet-resistant vests that couldn't protect them against the gunshots.
Authorities said Clark tried to dispose of a shirt he was wearing when the shootings occurred to keep from being recognized as police searched for suspects. Helfrich sentenced him to serve two years on house arrest, followed by three years of supervised release.
The Hattiesburg American reported that Clark stood quietly with his attorney, public defender Candice Rickman, as District Attorney Patricia Burchell read the case prosecutors had prepared against him.
Helfrich asked Clark if he agreed to details presented by the district attorney's office. Clark said yes.
Banks died in prison in 2015 while awaiting trial on two counts of capital murder. An autopsy determined the cause was heart disease.
Nine people were charged in connection to the officers' deaths.
WDAM-TV reported that in June, two of them pleaded guilty to conspiracy for hiding the shirt Banks was wearing, and one pleaded guilty to possession of a stolen weapon.
In May, one pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact of capital murder and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Also in May, one was convicted of attempted accessory after the fact of capital murder and hindering prosecution.
In August 2016, one pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact of capital murder.
One remains free on bond on a charge of hindering prosecution and is scheduled to be arraigned Monday in Lamar County.
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