Jury: Man desecrated corpse

Published 11:19 am Friday, February 17, 2017

LEAKESVILLE (AP) — A jury said a Greene County man is guilty of murder and desecration of a human corpse.

Jurors delivered the verdict Thursday against Welford Levi “Pork Chop” McCarty, sentencing him to life without parole plus three years for the dismemberment. Although McCarty was found guilty of capital murder, his I.Q. is too low for him to be eligible for the death penalty.

The Sun Herald reported that testimony showed McCarty shot Donovan Cowart in the face from 10 yards away as he stood over his own grave in 2013. When police found the body in 2015, it had been chopped up and put in five trash bags.

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Alleged fellow gang member Robert Virgil Stephens said he dug up the body about three weeks after the murder and dismembered it with an ax because McCarty thought authorities would search his property. He said McCarty threatened “that people I care about could get hurt.”

Stephens said they placed the wrapped and weighted remains in the trunk of a car and tried to sink it in a beaver pond in Greene County. He said the tarp wouldn’t sink in the pond so McCarty pulled out a rifle and shot it a couple of times thinking that would make it sink, but it didn’t.

When police found the body, it was wedged under a culvert overlooking the pond, weighed down by cinder blocks.

Witnesses said McCarty killed Cowart because he thought his former friend was a snitch. McCarty was accused of being a member of both the Southern Brotherhood, an Alabama-based white-supremacist prison gang, and Simon City Royals, a gang started in 1950s Chicago that spread to the Deep South, including the Mississippi Coast.

“The death of Donovan Cowart was another sad chapter in showing those who are on drugs and in gangs commit acts of violence against others in our community,” said District Attorney Tony Lawrence.