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Man pleads guilty in pre-Christmas robberies

A Brookhaven man pleaded guilty Tuesday to numerous chargesresulting from a series of armed robberies the week beforeChristmas.

Only moments before his trial was to begin, Brandy Earl Smith,22, of 3150 James Dr., pleaded guilty to four counts of armedrobbery, two counts of petit larceny and a single count ofconspiracy to commit armed robbery.

Smith will be sentenced June 4, said 14th Circuit Court JudgeDavid Strong.

Fourteenth District District Attorney Dewitt “Dee” Bates saidthe prosecution would recommend a sentence, but it was ultimatelythe judge’s decision. However, Bates said Smith had an extensiveprior record of non-violent offenses and the judge ruled he wouldbe sentenced as a habitual offender.

“He’ll have to serve day for day of the sentence,” Bates said.”There’s no chance of an early release.”

An alleged accomplice in the December armed robberies, JasmineMcCoy, was also scheduled for trial Tuesday, but that case wascontinued following Smith’s plea.

However, McCoy, 19, of 75 Springfield Trail, Bogue Chitto,pleaded guilty in Strong’s court Monday to 14 counts of fraudulentuse of a credit card in September, only months before the series ofarmed robberies. She will be sentenced on those charges on June4.

Smith and McCoy were accused of robbing four men at gunpoint ata residence on South Cleveland Street Dec. 17. The pair allegedlyarrived in McCoy’s mother’s car, but fled on a pair of bicyclesstolen from the residence after leaving the car keys in thehouse.

McCoy was brought in to authorities by her mother later thatday, but Smith eluded officers.

Following McCoy’s arrest, Smith began targeting conveniencestores. He attempted to rob Happy Food Mart and committed robberiesat Serio’s Grocery and Startown Food Mart that night, displaying aweapon in at least one of the robberies.

He was arrested the next day.

In other court action, Strong continued the murder trial againstJulian Williams, 34, of 1006 Stapleton Lane, Wesson, at the requestof the prosecution. Bates said DNA evidence needed in the trial hasnot returned from the Mississippi Crime Lab.

Williams is charged with murder in the death of Rhonda MichelleMullen, 33, of Wesson. The trial was reset for Sept. 4.

Mullen was found July 16, 2006, in a mobile home on BookerAvenue in Blades Trailer Park. Her body had been placed under thebed, but there were no visible signs of injury.