| By Rita Howell
A Como woman charged with shoplifting $571.66 worth of clothes and other merchandise from Wal-Mart April 7 had her case referred to the Panola County grand jury in Batesville Municipal Court on Wednesday.
Jennifer M. Wren of 3493 Tom Floyd Road, Como, faces a felony charge in the matter. She told Judge Bill McKenzie that minors who were with her at the time had stolen the merchandise and placed it in her car. The minors were referred to youth court.
In another Wal-Mart shoplifting case, Akelra Spears of Apt. # 1, Atkins St., Sardis, pleaded guilty to taking Sony car audio speakers valued at $59.72. The speakers cost Spears $595 in fines, which he will satisfy by performing 14 days of community service work. Judge McKenzie cautioned Spears that another shoplifting charge would bring jail time.
Pleading guilty to a charge of shoplifting at Harry B’s convenience store was Turner B. Barnes of 120 Cedar Hill Dr., Oxford, who paid a cash fine of $595 prior to court.
Steve Harris of 4060 Curtis Rd., Batesville, pleaded guilty to carrying a concealed weapon and discharging a firearm in the city limits on April 2 at the Leonard St. Apartments. Judge McKenzie ordered the 9 mm pistol forfeited, then reduced the fine from $850 to $350. He cautioned Harris not to carry a weapon in his pocket unless he has a permit.
Tommy Ray Oliver of 313 Willa St., Batesville, pleaded guilty to DUI, second offense, and speeding on April 7. He was fined $1,317 and sentenced to five days in jail, a mandatory sentence for a second offense DUI.
Seven violations in one night
Renard B. Cole of 136 Hoskins Road, Batesville, pleaded guilty to seven traffic violations that occurred on April 1 at Bright and Panola. He was charged with running a stop sign, reckless driving, no driver’s license, improper passing, no insurance, no seatbelt, and driving on the wrong side of the road.
Cole told Judge McKenzie that he tried to outrun police officers when they tried to stop him because he has no driver’s license.
"Instead of one ticket, you got seven," the judge told Cole.
His fines totaled $1,890. Judge McKenzie enrolled Cole in the city’s work release program for 46 days to satisfy the fines.
Barry Cole Flint of 5692 Barnacre Road, Sardis, pleaded guilty to possession of alcohol by a minor and public profanity on April 7. He was fined $520.
Robert Grant of 99 Whippoorwill Rd., Pope, was ordered to pay $851 in fines he has owed since April of 2000. Grant had previously appeared before Judge McKenzie to say he had paid the fines, but in court Wednesday he could not produce receipts to prove the fines had been paid. The judge had instructed Court Clerk Rene Hubbard to search her records, but no receipt was found.
He has until May 13 to pay the fine in full.
Labelle Hill failed to appear in court to answer a contempt of court charge for old fines. The judge ordered Hill’s bail bondsman to be notified.
Judge McKenzie dismissed a charge of driving while license suspended filed against William Stewart of 629 Main St., Courtland in 2003. Stewart, who has accumulated contempt of court fines for failure to pay the old fine, told Judge McKenzie that he never got that ticket, that someone else used his identity. Police Officer Daniel Chandler, who issued the ticket, no longer works for the Batesville Police Department and was not in court to prosecute the case.
Judge McKenzie said changes in police arrest procedures should eliminate such cases as Stewart’s. A new policy will require the officer to take a photograph of the subject to help verify identity.
A charge of trespassing against Jeremy Lee of 11-B Highway 51 S., Courtland, was withdrawn by Kelly Allen.
Tiffany Jackson of 202 Gordon Dr., Batesville, had requested a trial to contest a charge of simple assault filed against her on March 6 by Latonya Johnson. But in her testimony, Jackson told the judge she did hit Johnson during an argument that day. Jackson was fined $255, but Johnson was ordered to stay away from the home Jackson and her husband Terrance share with Tiffany Jackson’s mother Brenda Norris.
Judge McKenzie set a trial date of May 11 for Rowdy Griffin of 2561 Highway 322, Batesville, who has contested charges of DUI (second
offense), driving while his license is suspended under the implied consent law, and improper turn.
Set for trial on May 4 is a DUI case involving Albert Gene Barnett of 119 Dabney St., Batesville.
On April 27 Judge McKenzie will hear the case of Layanda S. Lee of 201 Atkins, Apt., C., Sardis, who is charged with simple assault against Latasha Lewis. Lee was ordered to have $415 in contempt of court fines from unrelated charges paid when she comes back to court for her trial.
Albert Lee Gray of P.O. Box 1805, Batesville is contesting a charge of careless driving and will have his case heard April 20.
Richard Jones of 2745 Shiloh Rd., Courtland, is to return to court April 27 to provide proof that his vehicle is insured. He pleaded guilty to driving while his license is suspended and was fined $340.
Joey Donell Thomas of 317-D Patton Lane, Batesville, was fined $265 for no driver’s license.
Latashia Stewart of Holly Springs pleaded guilty to speeding and no insurance. If she proves to the court by April 27 that she has automobile insurance, her fine will be reduced to $256.
Jessica Faye Jones of 1501 Kincannon, Tupelo, pleaded guilty to speeding and expired tag and was fined $285. Judge McKenzie dismissed a "no insurance" charge when Ms. Jones presented proof that her vehicle is insured.
Terry Dean Amos of 146 Barker Rd., Courtland, pleaded guilty to a speeding charge and was fined $112. Amos requested to be enrolled in a driving course that will allow him to keep the ticket off his record.
Carl Evans of 103 Tindall Cove, Batesville, pleaded guilty to driving while his license is suspended and was fined $340.
"What does it mean when your license is suspended?" the judge asked Evans.
"Don’t drive," Evans said.
"Stay out of the car," the judge told him.
Michael Q. Harris of 208 Gordon Dr., Batesville, pleaded guilty to speeding and was fined $100.
Austin James Hancock of 5465 Dummyline Road, Batesville, was fined $123 for speeding.
Carolyn A. Hutchens of 34 Bonner Rd., Enid, charged with no insurance, presented proof that her vehicle is now insured. Judge McKenzie reduced her fine to $155.