Godbolt indicted on capital murder, other charges in Memorial Day shooting spree

Published 10:59 pm Thursday, March 8, 2018

Willie Cory Godbolt has been indicted on several counts of murder in connection with the shooting deaths of eight people, including a sheriff’s deputy, in Lincoln County last year.

A Lincoln County grand jury Thursday returned four counts of capital murder, four counts of first-degree murder, two counts of kidnapping, one count of attempted murder and one count of armed robbery.

The capital murder charges stem from the deaths of Lincoln County sheriff’s deputy William Durr, 36; Brookhaven High School student Jordan Blackwell, 17; Lipsey student Austin Edwards, 11; and Shelia Burage, 46.

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The first-degree murder charges are related to the deaths of Brenda May, 53; Toccara May, 35; Barbara Mitchell, 55; and Ferral Burage, 45. Godbolt is also accused of attempted murder for allegedly shooting at Lincoln County sheriff’s deputy Timothy Kees, and is accused of kidnapping Xavier Lilly and another victim. He is accused of armed robbery for taking a 2015 Kia vehicle.

Capital murder charges are brought against a suspect when murder is committed during the commission of another crime. In the case of Blackwell, Edwards and Burage, the other crime was burglary. The charge of capital murder in Durr’s death is because he was a law enforcement officer acting in his official capacity.

All the charges stem from a shooting spree that occurred on May 27 and 28, 2017. Witnesses have said the fatal shootings started after Godbolt was arguing with his estranged wife.

Godbolt’s rampage began around 11:30 p.m. at 2871 Lee Drive in Bogue Chitto, where he allegedly shot to death Durr; Mitchell; her daughter, Toccara May; and Mitchell’s sister, Brenda May, said Mississippi Bureau of Investigation spokesman Warren Strain.

Godbolt arrived shortly after that at Coopertown Road, where Lilly and his friends were staying. That’s where Godbolt is accused of killing cousins Blackwell and Edwards, Strain said. Family members said Blackwell died shielding Austin’s brother, Caleb Edwards, with his own body to protect him.

Lilly reportedly spent hours in a car with Godbolt. He was eventually let out of the car near the Burage home.

Ferral and Sheila Burage were killed by gunshot wounds at their house on East Lincoln Road, which is where Godbolt surrendered to police.

The murder weapons — two rifles and two pistols — were also recovered at the house on East Lincoln Road. One pistol belonged to Ferral Burage, the rest belonged to Godbolt, authorities said.

If found guilty, Godbolt, 35, could face the death penalty or life without parole for the capital murder charges. First-degree murder can carry a penalty of life in prison with the eligibility of parole.

Godbolt made his first court appearance May 30, 2017, before Lincoln County Justice Court Judge Roger Martin. The hearing was held in Copiah County Justice Court in Gallman due to concerns for Godbolt’s safety.

At that time, Godbolt was charged with one count of murder and seven counts of first-degree murder. Court documents detailing the charges against Godbolt stated that he knew Durr was a law enforcement officer when he killed him.

The arraignment of Godbolt is scheduled for 11 a.m. Monday at the Lincoln County Courthouse. Godbolt is expected to appear before Circuit Judge David H. Strong.

Click here to read the full indictment.

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