By COLLEEN MCCARTHY
There are nearly 170 criminal cases on the docket for the upcoming circuit term at the Oktibbeha County Courthouse, scheduled to begin on Monday.
Judges Jim Kitchens, Lee Howard and Lee Coleman will preside over the two-week term. Nearly one-third of the cases are drug-related charges, while property crimes make up another 40 cases. Violent crimes are involved in over 20 cases.
Curtis Lee Chandler, 42, of 18 Canal St., will stand trial for the accident which killed his 11-year-old stepson and left his wife and another stepson seriously injured on the afternoon of May 21, 2010.
Chandler lost control of his 1995 Toyota 4-Runner and ran off Oktoc Road near Chapel Hill Road and rolled several times. Two children were ejected from the vehicle, including Sylvester Gandy Jr., who was later pronounced dead at OCH Regional Medical Center. The other child, age 12, and Chandlerâ€™s wife, Angelia Gandy, were flown to University Medical Center in Jackson with serious injuries. A third child, age 15, was treated at OCH Regional Medical Center with minor injuries.
Chandler faces a charge of DUI third, leaving the scene of an accident and three counts of aggravated DUI in connection with the accident. According to Mississippi law, each charge of aggravated DUI will carry a sentence of no less than five years with a maximum of 25 years. Leaving the scene of an accident with injuries carries a minimum of 30 days in jail and/or a fine or $100 with a maximum of one year and/or a fine of $5,000. With a third charge of driving under the influence in Mississippi, Chandler could face one to five years in prison, a fine between $2,000 and $5,000, driverâ€™s license suspension of five years, vehicle seizure and could be required to attend an alcohol abuse program, among other penalties.
Judge Coleman is scheduled to hear the case on Monday, Jan. 30.
The man who allegedly assaulted two Shipleyâ€™s Do-Nuts employees during an attempted armed robbery will stand trial on Jan. 30. George Johnson, 23, of Weir, allegedly entered Shipleyâ€™s at approximately 6 a.m. on May 31, 2010, pulled a knife on a female employee and demanded money. He then allegedly cut her throat as he attempted to rob her.
According to police, several other employees heard the womanâ€™s call for help and ran to the front of the store to find Johnson standing over her with his hands on her throat. A male employee attempted to stop Johnson from assaulting the female, but Johnson attacked him and cut him on the throat. The male employee hit Johnson over the head with a piece of equipment used in the shop before he fled the scene.
Starkville Police Chief David Lindley said officers were able to identify Johnson as the suspect shortly after arriving on the scene and found him walking on Highway 25 later that morning. He resisted arrest and was hit with a stun gun by police officers before taken into custody. Johnson was not able to take any money during the attempted robbery.
Johnson is charged with attempted armed robbery and two counts of aggravated assault. Judge Coleman will preside over the trial.
Two men involved with a violent home invasion will stand trial during the term. Rodriguez Gandy, 22, of 221 Steadman Lane, and Rod Hogan, 17, of 1679 Glenn Lane, are each charged with three counts of armed robbery, three counts of aggravated assault and one count of burglary of a dwelling after they allegedly forced their way into the home of John Young at 1667 Arnold Drive on April 20, 2010, and beat Young, James Moses and Rodney Smith. According to court documents, the men beat the victims with a steel pipe or a baseball bat, causing severe injuries to Young and Moses. The men allegedly stole over $500 in cash and a cell phone.
A third man, Malcolm Reidout, pleaded to guilty aggravated assault and armed robbery and received a 15-year sentence and a 20-year sentence to be served consecutively. Hogan will stand trial on Wednesday, Jan. 25, in front of Judge Howard while Gandy will stand trial on Monday, Jan. 30, in front of Judge Coleman.
Antonio Hart of 508 Inca Drive will stand trial for the shooting of a then-23-year-old man outside of his apartment on North Montgomery Street on Feb. 27, 2010, following a conflict which started at a nightclub in another county. Hart and another man, identified as Dionte Doss of 709 Roadhouse Road, allegedly shot the victim and then fired at his apartment, where his family was asleep inside. Hart will face charges of aggravated assault and shooting into a dwelling. Judge Howard will hear the case on Tuesday, Jan. 24.
Two murder cases have scheduled hearings during the court term.
Archie Quinn of 3233 Craig Springs Road, Sturgis, is charged with capital murder in the shooting death of Stacy M. Gray, 35, of 3223 Craig Springs Road, Sturgis, in September 2008. According to a statement released by the Oktibbeha County Sheriffâ€™s Department, deputies responded to a call of shots fired at the home of Terry Johnson, who was also shot and wounded, on West Sand Creek Road at 6:51 a.m. on Sept. 28, 2008.
As deputies were en route to Johnsonâ€™s home, they confronted Quinn near West Sand Creek Road. Quinn exited his vehicle and shot himself in the head but survived the injury.
Quinn also faces charges of burglary of a dwelling, aggravated assault and shooting into a dwelling. He is scheduled for a hearing in front of Judge Coleman on Monday, Jan. 23.
Dennis Thompson, of 1429 Louisville St., is charged with the murder of Curtis â€śC.K.â€ť Randle of Starkville and three counts of aggravated assault. Thompson, who was 18 years old at the time, is accused of firing shots into a crowd of people leaving a graduation party outside of the 124 Place Special Event Center on D. L. Connor Drive in the early morning hours of May 22, 2010. Randle was shot in the chest and killed, but three other people were also wounded.
The hearing is scheduled on Tuesday, Jan. 31 in front of Judge Coleman.
The court term will begin at 9 a.m. on Monday morning and continue on weekdays through Feb. 3.