Willie pleads guilty to murder

Published 10:02 am Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Willie pleads guilty to murder

By Myra Bean


James D. Willie entered a guilty plea by a negotiated plea deal to the murder of Thomas Schlender on Interstate 55 near Courtland on May 8, 2012.
The case had been appealed to the Mississippi Supreme Court who reversed and remanded the murder conviction back to the Circuit Court in December 2016.
Schlender, 74, was killed while traveling from his Nebraska home on I-55 near Courtland to pick up his grandson in bible college in Florida in May 2012.
According to Circuit Court of Panola County records, the charges were reduced from Capital Murder to Deliberate Design First Degree Murder.
Willie received a sentence of life imprisonment to be served concurrently with the life sentence the defendant is presently serving from Tunica County.
In Tunica County, Willie was connected to the murder of Lori Ann Carswell.
Evidence obtained during that investigation tied together the case for prosecutors to pursue a conviction in Panola County for Schlender’s murder where he received the guilty verdict and a life sentence.

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