Macel Appleton Sr.

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Client can’t hear hearing, attorney tells circuit judge

By Billy Davis

A circuit court hearing for an elderly Sardis man has been postponed because he could not hear the court proceedings.

Macel Appleton Sr., 77, seated in an electric wheelchair, left court in Batesville without entering a guilty plea on “plea day” last Friday.

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He is facing a 12-count indictment for purchasing stolen goods, after authorities said they tracked the items to Appleton’s home on 503 East Carlee Street.

Appleton was represented by Oxford attorney Josh Turner. Turner, when the hearing began, informed Judge Andrew C. Baker that he could not communicate with his client.

“I’ve been yelling at him all morning,” Turner said.

The defense attorney, when questioned by Baker about a hearing aid, said it was “at the VA getting worked on right now.”

Baker then agreed to postpone the plea hearing until Appleton returned with his hearing aid.

Assistant District Attorney Jay Hale did not object, telling the court that Appleton’s sentencing is scheduled for later this summer.

Appleton, with his wheelchair and oxygen tank, looked the part of a feeble man, though he is facing serious charges in the circuit court system.   

The elderly defendant was indicted last May for buying three four-wheelers, two shotguns, two .22 caliber rifles, a 30-30 lever-action rifle, and a Samsung flat-screen TV.

Authorities have said the items were stolen from a home in Sardis, and at rural homes in Panola and Tate counties.

Panola sheriff’s investigators also allege that Appleton participated in the theft of a four-wheeler, a charge of grand larceny, when he allegedly provided a trailer to transport it.

Burglary suspects, who fingered Appleton as a regular buyer of stolen goods, also described Appleton’s role in the stolen ATV, court documents show.

Appleton is also charged with felony possession of a firearm, since he was convicted in 2001 of horse theft by fraud. He received a one-year suspended sentence after pleading guilty.