Judge sentences five; sets trials in other cases

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, August 12, 2003

A murder case and drug trafficking trial involving a Pike Countyattorney highlighted a busy Circuit Court docket yesterdayafternoon. Judge Mike Smith set trial dates, heard pleas and setsentences.

A trial date of Sept. 15 at 9 a.m. was set for John Jackson, aMcComb attorney accused of selling drugs to an inmate in theLincoln County jail.

Jackson, 54, was arrested June 5 in a sting operation conductedby the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department, Brookhaven PoliceDepartment, and the Southwest Mississippi Inter jurisdictionalNarcotics Enforcement Unit.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The investigation of Jackson began when law enforcement officersreceived a tip that an attorney was bringing cigarettes andmarijuana into the jail. Investigating officers developed aninformant, and videotaped and audio taped the jailhouse visitbetween Jackson and his client, according to Capt. Chris Picou ofthe Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office.

The judge also set an omnibus hearing date for Sept. 8 at 9 a.m.for Dian Laird, 54, of 517 Curran Ave., who is accused of themurder of her boyfriend, John L. Emerson, 66, of the same address,following an apparent domestic dispute on Feb. 15. An omnibushearing sets the date for a trial and ensures cooperation among theattorneys.

Police officers were called to the scene by Laird and “she wascovered in blood” when they arrived, Chief Pap Henderson said inFebruary.

Emerson was pronounced dead at his home after receiving agunshot wound to the chest. The gun believed to have been used inthe shooting was found on a nightstand in the bedroom where Emersonwas found dead on the floor.

In other court matters, five people changed their not guiltypleas to guilty and were sentenced in Smith’s court room Mondayafternoon.

Sentenced were Wendy Brister, Rhonda G. Ross, Willie Donnell”Don” Coleman, Charles Lyons, and John Henry Brock.

Brister, 25, of 2794 Pearlie Dr., pleaded guilty to the unlawfulsale of alprazolam. She was given 10 years in MDOC custody, butreleased on time served with the remainder on probation. She wasalso assessed with a $2,000 fine, $50 in restitution to theMississippi Bureau of Narcotics, court costs and attorney’s fees.Brister served two months and four days in 2002 while awaitingcourt.

Ross, 32, of 119 Gray Line Rd., Vicksburg, pleaded guilty to theembezzlement of $1,012.86 from Centennial Wireless. She wassentenced to five years probation, restitution to the company, andassessed a $500 fine, court costs and attorney’s fees. As part ofher probation, Ross must pay $200 per month until her restitutionis complete.

Coleman, 37, of 859 Howard Rd., pleaded guilty to conspiracy tocommit the crime of burglary of an automobile and burglary of anautomobile. He was given seven years in MDOC custody with fouryears to serve and three years on probation, $1,000 fine, payrestitution, get his GED, and assessed courts costs and attorney’sfees.

Lyons, 19, of 2262 Dixie Rd., was ordered to complete the DUIDrug Court program, fined $4,000, and assessed court costs andattorney’s fees for pleading guilty to driving under the influence(third offense). Smith also handed down three years in the custodyof MDOC should Lyons fail the DUI Drug Court program.

Brock, 27, of 819 West Congress St., pleaded guilty to fivecounts of uttering forgery. He was sentenced to five years withseven months to serve and four years and five months of probation,a $1,000 fine, full restitution to the victim, and assessed courtcosts and attorney’s fees. He was ordered to get his GED andcomplete an anger management training program.