Sunday, January 21, 2018
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The Tunica Times • P.O. Box 308/986 Magnolia Street, Tunica, MS 38676

Judge declares mistrial in hwy. murder case

After an hour delay on what would have been the third day of proceedings, officials announced that a mistrial had been declared in the State of Mississippi vs. James Willie. Willie was accused of the murder of Fitz Casino employee Lori Carswell in the early morning hours of May 11, 2012 along Highway 713 in Tunica County.

Sources say a series of outbursts by the defendant played a role in the decision to declare a mistrial. District Attorney Brenda Mitchell did confirm she would retry the case, but the venue may be changed to another county in the state. Willie was transported to Rankin County, where he awaits trial on murder charges in Panola County and additional charges in Tunica County.

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County brings local accountant on board

Tunica County supervisors hired a new comptroller Monday night, 1988 Rosa Fort High School graduate Adrian McKay. But in a strange turn of events, the Board also kept interim comptroller Alex Wiley on board, extending indefinitely an agreement for Wiley to work 40 hours per week for the county.

The vote came after an executive session that considered “Potential litigation,” where the Board agreed to enter mediation on an EEOC complaint against the Sheriff’s Department, Board attorney Ellis Pittman announced after supervisors reopened the meeting.

Board president James Dunn asked Chancery Court Clerk Rechelle Siggers to present the meeting’s last item of business.

“We recommend to hire Adrian McKay for the position of comptroller,” Siggers said.

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School chief calls police about profanity

Tunica Police Department responded to a call last Friday evening from Tunica County School District Superintendent Bernard Chandler, who suspected criminal behavior by a male teen.  No arrests were made.

The teen, identified by Chandler from among a group of male teens, is accused of profanely cursing at Chandler in public.  Antonio Bingham, the teen’s father, said his son called him to the scene after learning Chandler had called the police.  Tunica Police Chief Richard Veazey said Chandler did not file charges against the teen.

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Locals hope to bring new jobs to county

At least two Tunica natives are making it their business to tackle the county’s 17.3 percent unemployment by opening businesses of their own this year.

Tunica County is home to one of the highest percentages of unemployed in the state, second only to Clay County, according to the Mississippi Department of Employment Securities’ January 2014 Labor Market Data Publication.

Beyond the challenges of hiring, two big factors in bringing jobs to Tunica are finding space to open a business and community support, both Derricos Jones and Dennis Hayes, Jr. said.

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