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Former Whitfield employee sentenced for abuse

James Sorrell, 36, of Richland, pleaded guilty and was sentenced in Rankin County Circuit Court Monday on one count of abuse of a vulnerable person. Sorrell, who was an employee of the Mississippi State Hospital at Whitfield, broke a resident’s jaw by punching the resident in the face. Judge William Chapman, at the request of the Attorney General’s Office, found that this was a crime of violence, meaning Sorrell will not be eligible for parole until he has served at least half of his sentence.

“We appreciate the good caregivers who work long hours for low pay caring for our most vulnerable,” said Attorney General Jim Hood. “However, it is a bright line healthcare workers know not to cross—do not let your temper cause you to harm a person in your care. Healthcare workers are trained to get help if they need assistance with a patient. I hope Judge Chapman’s 10 year sentence will serve as a deterrence to all those working with patients.”

Sorrell was sentenced to 20 years in the Mississippi Department of Corrections, with 10 years suspended, 10 to serve, and five years post-release supervision. He was also ordered to pay all court costs and assessments.

This case was investigated by Investigators Jake Windham and Joel Houston and was prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Katie Moulds with the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.