August 28, 2018 10:24:20 AM
A Columbus man will spend 35 years in prison for fatally shooting a man outside a convenience store two years ago.
Darrion Walls, 29, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in Lowndes County Circuit Court Monday. He was sentenced to 40 years in Mississippi Department of Corrections with 35 to serve and five years suspended.
Walls was charged in the murder of 23-year-old Deanthony Jones, who was shot outside Sandfield One Stop on Main Street in June 2016. Walls turned himself in to Columbus Police Department shortly after the shooting.
"We talked to the family about the plea offer, and they accepted it," District Attorney Scott Colom said after Walls' sentencing. "The great thing about a plea deal is the person accepts responsibility for the crime and that gives closure to the family. You don't have the risk of jury trial or an appeal and he got a significant prison sentence so he's got a long time to think about his consequences of his decision."
Walls' attorney, Jay Hurdle of Starkville, did not respond to a call from The Dispatch by press time.
In an unrelated case, Patrick Roby, 41, of Brooksville, pleaded guilty to kidnapping and was sentenced to 20 years in MDOC with 15 to serve and five years suspended.
In April 2017, Roby was charged with kidnapping a man visiting Columbus from Japan for business with Yokohama. The victim was sitting in his vehicle in the Leigh Mall parking when Roby got into the front passenger seat. Roby swapped seats with the victim and drove to an ATM where he allegedly forced the victim to withdraw cash and give it to him. About 90 minutes later, Roby forced the victim to use his credit card to rent a room at a local motel.
The victim rented the room and then called CPD. Roby was apprehended and charged with kidnapping and robbery.
The robbery charge was retired as part of Roby's plea.
"Mississippi is known for hospitality," Colom said. "This case was a stain on our community because Mr. Roby kidnapped an overseas visitor bringing jobs to our area. Thankfully, Mr. Roby took responsibility for his crimes, admitted his guilt."
Roby's attorney, Donna Smith, did not return calls from The Dispatch by press time.
Jarvis Alexander, 26, of Columbus, pleaded guilty Monday to both aggravated assault and bribing a witness.
Alexander was sentenced to 20 years in MDOC with 15 to serve and five years suspended for aggravated assault and 10 years for bribing a witness. He will serve those sentences concurrently, meaning 15 years will likely be the maximum he is incarcerated for the offense.
In September 2017, Alexander was arrested for shooting at an occupied vehicle on Hughes Lane in south Columbus. In February, Alexander was charged with bribing the victim, Nicholas Edwards.
Edwards was later indicted for accepting the bribe. His next court date is scheduled for Dec. 5.
Alexander's attorney, Rod Ray, did not return calls from The Dispatch by press time.
1. Winning: Love of baseball drives success for MSU head coach Chris Lemonis STARKVILLE & OKTIBBEHA COUNTY
2. Monday profile: Morris finds calling to medicine, Mississippi COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
3. County continues seeking easements for Blackjack Road project STARKVILLE & OKTIBBEHA COUNTY
4. Makerspace movement continues to thrive in Starkville STARKVILLE & OKTIBBEHA COUNTY
5. Lowndes County begins summer work program COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY