Shoplifting in Southaven, Mississippi lands a man in prison for life, without the possibility of parole. 44-year-old Darnell Wilson will serve three life sentences in Mississippi handed down to him on Tuesday, June 22, 2010 by a DeSoto County judge. The ruling stems from an incident in August, 2009 in which Wilson was arrested after stealing $900 in merchandise from a Kohl’s department store in Southaven, MS, and subsequently led police on a pursuit into Tennessee, injuring an officer in the process.
The sentence seems harsh to some, but DeSoto County Assistant District Attorney, Smith Murphey disagrees, stating ” the life sentence is not only justified, it was long overdue.” Murphey says, “It’s not just shoplifting, the endangerment of hundreds of people on Goodman Road. Anybody who’s driven down Goodman at 5:00 on a Friday knows the traffic. And for anybody to go down that road at 80 miles an hour, it’s reckless. A willful disregard for the value of human life.”
A DeSoto County jury convicted Wilson of three felonies; grand larceny, fleeing and assault on an officer. Wilson now has 19 total arrests, and seven felony convictions. That’s why Murphey says, when Wilson stepped into Mississippi, he wasn’t about to let him leave, “Habitual criminals are not going to be tolerated and this is a prime example. Mr. Wilson was arrested 18 times in Tennessee, he was arrested one time in Mississippi. I think the message and lesson is clear; the criminals need to stay out of Mississippi.”
In Mississippi, with two or more prior felonies, and at least one year in jail, a life sentence is actually mandatory by the court, unless a judge finds the sentence inappropriate. Although the severity of the penalties in this particular case may be subject to debate or disagreement, one thing is clear: Anyone who has been arrested for shoplifting in Mississippi should take the charges very seriously, and consult with a qualified Mississippi criminal defense attorney to aggressively defend your case. Though it may be an extreme example, Mr. Wilson’s case shows what can happen when arrests and convictions accumulate on a person’s record.
Reported by: Joy Lambert Email: [email protected] Print Story Published: 6/23