Thursday, January 20, 2022

Questions remain after prominent Jackson business owner gets no jail time for killing man

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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) – Greater than a yr after the killing of 65-year-old Larry Lee, a choose has determined the outstanding Jackson businesswoman behind the set off will not serve any time behind bars after she pleaded responsible to a lesser cost.

Bully had beforehand been indicted on first-degree homicide, drive-by taking pictures and proof tampering.

One situation of Greta Bully’s plea deal — referred to as a best-interest plea — means she doesn’t admit guilt for what occurred.

Wednesday’s resolution got here after a mini-trial of types the place each side put up proof that they’d have used at a jury trial, together with a 911 name Bully made minutes after taking pictures Lee and physique digital camera footage from JPD.

Within the footage, Bully will be heard telling officers what occurred.

“He mentioned, ‘Hey’ and he scared me, and I informed him earlier than to not come up right here,” Bully mentioned.

Attorneys for Bully would later declare Lee was making an attempt to interrupt into her liquor retailer, however Bully didn’t say a phrase of that to the JPD officers that night time.

“She mentioned he stored passing by her. She stored telling him to depart, she was locking up her gate. He wouldn’t go away. She shot him,” an unidentified officer mentioned within the recording.

The state maintained Wednesday, with testimony from JPD Detective Terrence Jackson and extra crime scene images, that Bully murdered Lee in chilly blood.

Jackson mentioned forensic proof indicated Lee was sitting towards the wall of her enterprise when he was shot, contradicting protection claims that Lee got here towards her and threatened her.

Bully’s lawyer, Dennis Candy III, mentioned he had consultants that can say that forensic proof, together with lacking shell casings and questionable gunshot residue checks, doesn’t maintain up beneath scrutiny.

After greater than ninety minutes, Particular Circuit Choose Forrest Johnson accepted Bully’s plea and sentenced her to 10 years within the state’s correctional system, with eight suspended and two years to be served by home arrest.

“I believed he did a unbelievable job getting a tricky case resolved. He did a unbelievable job. I believed he gave a good sentence,” Candy mentioned.

Relations of Lee informed the choose they needed the sentence to hold extra accountability due to the decreased cost.

“We hope the message is that no one’s above the legislation, we hope that justice works for everyone. People like Mr. Lee, who’s not with us, and people who might need companies, everybody needs to be held accountable to the legislation,” mentioned Hinds County District Lawyer Jody Owens.

Nonetheless, the secrecy surrounding the case — and a sentence with no jail time — have drawn their justifiable share of criticism.

In Might, days after WLBT attended a preliminary listening to, Johnson not solely sealed the case file but in addition sealed the order saying why all the pieces was sealed.

Johnson defined his resolution earlier than the courtroom Wednesday, saying he needed to make sure each events may obtain a good trial.

“Folks will take a piecemeal allegation from a courtroom submitting, which can or is probably not true, and abruptly they know extra in regards to the case and the legislation than any of us right here. They go on social media and so they make excessive inflammatory statements on one aspect or the opposite on this case,” Johnson mentioned. “In a high-profile case like this, social media is a transparent and current hazard to justice.”

Owens mentioned some folks have been leaking info on instances to unfold misinformation, so 3 On Your Facet requested whether or not any of these leaks got here from his workplace.

“We don’t have a leak downside in our workplace. We have now a need-to-know system. In our workplace, we’ve a no-tolerance system for speaking to the media and leaking instances. We don’t want that,” Owens mentioned.

One other criticism for the reason that case started: whether or not Bully was given preferential remedy as a result of the case was shielded from public scrutiny.

Owens didn’t instantly reply that query, however Candy did.

“Completely not. Completely not,” Candy mentioned.

Copyright 2021 WLBT. All rights reserved.

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