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Victim’s mother speaks out at plea, sentencing hearing

The man charged in the 2013 death of Cornelius D. Porter of Brookhaven was sentenced to 20 years after pleading guilty to manslaughter Tuesday. 

Jerry Tashod Doss, 36, of 3102 Eden St., Pascagoula, was sentenced to serve 16 years in the state penitentiary and four years of post-release supervision under the Mississippi Department of Corrections for the killing of Porter in October 2013. He entered his plea in Lincoln County Circuit Court.

Doss

Doss

Along with the sentence, Doss was ordered to pay a fine of $2,000 and restitution of $4,000 to Melissa Porter, the mother of Cornelius Porter.

Both Doss and Melissa Porter were allowed to speak during the hearing Tuesday.

Melissa Porter fought through tears to ask “How did he take him away from me?” and “All I want to know is why.”

Lincoln County Circuit Court Judge David Strong replied, “I don’t know if you’ll get that answer,” and stated that in a perfect world her son would be brought back, but in this world the criminal justice system does what it can to alleviate some of the pain associated with such a loss.

The body of Melissa Porter’s 28-year-old son was found Oct. 30, 2013, burned with gunshot wounds on South Washington Street.

After more than a week of investigation, two Brookhaven residents were arrested in connection to the death – Karal Shun Lyons, 28, of 401 Crooked Lane and Marshonna Shanta Dunnigan, 37, of 334 East Minnesota St.  At the time of their arrests, officers issued a warrant and a nationwide BOLO (Be On the Look Out) for Doss’s arrest. Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Department later arrested Doss on Nov. 19, 2013, in Ridgecrest, Louisiana, after they discovered Doss’s abandoned vehicle.

Initially, Lyons, Dunnigan and Doss were all charged with murder. Dunnigan appeared before a grand jury on Jan. 17, 2014, where an indictment was not delivered. Doss was indicted Sept. 3, 2014, for first degree murder.

Doss’s charge was changed to manslaughter Tuesday prior to him entering a guilty plea.

Lyons’s charge of murder was changed to accessory after the fact. He was arraigned Jan. 26, 2014, and will appear before the court for trial on May 5.