January 27, 2010 9:38:00 AM
STARKVILLE -- A Starkville woman accused of killing a Mathiston man in 2008 was arraigned Monday in Oktibbeha County Circuit Court on one count of murder.
Leslie Sharp, now 20, was charged with manslaughter shortly after the shooting death of 20-year-old Christopher Cole on Nov. 10, 2008, near the corner of Rockhill Road and Kelly Road in northeastern Oktibbeha County. However, an Oktibbeha County grand jury was impaneled last year and reconvened earlier this month, then issued a murder indictment against Sharp, said Assistant District Attorney Rhonda Hayes-Ellis, who is representing the state in the case. The state is no longer pursuing manslaughter, though Hayes-Ellis would not go into detail when asked about the switch to a murder charge.
"All I can really say is that new evidence was presented to the grand jury," Hayes-Ellis said Tuesday at the Oktibbeha County Courthouse.
The grand jury looks at the state''s evidence and determines if there is enough for a trial.
According to court documents, the incident between Sharp and Cole stemmed from a relationship, and subsequent conflict, the victim had with two of Sharp''s friends.
Cole was driving near the intersection of Rockhill and Kelly roads the evening of Nov. 10, 2008, when he stopped his truck, put it in park and got out to confront four females occupying a vehicle that had stopped behind him. Cole had been caught "two-timing" one of the females in the vehicle with another one of the females in the vehicle, according the court documents. Sharp was not one of the women involved in the relationship, but was in the second vehicle.
Cole began "roughing up" one of the girls in between the vehicles, then went to the driver''s side and began cursing at the other female, court documents state. At this point, Cole pulled a revolver from his waistband and fired; court documents don''t state where the gun was pointed.
Sharp then climbed out of the back seat with a 9mm Smith & Wesson and Cole pointed his revolver, a .32 caliber Clerke, at her, according to court documents.
"Cole aimed at Leslie and the vehicle occupied by the three other girls and began advancing on Leslie, continuing to pull the trigger, his weapon was ''clicking,''" court documents state. "Leslie fired at Cole until he finally dropped near the front of (the female''s) car."
The driver backed up and shined the car''s headlights on Cole while Sharp called 911 and attempted to stop the bleeding, court documents state.
Cole was pronounced dead at the scene and, over the next three hours, Sharp gave three recorded statements to police, all claiming self-defense.
Sharp''s Smith & Wesson and 10 empty 9mm shell casings, plus six live rounds, were recovered at the scene. Cole''s revolver was recovered; its cylinder was forced open with needle-nosed pliers. It contained one empty hull and four live rounds, all of which had been struck and dented by the gun''s hammer, but misfired, court documents state.
The autopsy revealed Cole had been shot twice in the chest, twice in the shoulder, once in the lower back, once in the right bicep and once in the right thigh.
Sharp''s trial is scheduled for the April Oktibbeha County Circuit Court term.
In an unrelated case, a Maben woman accused of shooting her husband in the back while he hunted near their western Oktibbeha County home still was arraigned Tuesday afternoon. Verina Childs was charged with murder shortly after she was arrested in late November in the shooting death of her husband, Douglas Childs.
KJ commented at 1/27/2010 2:12:00 PM:
Four live rounds in his weapon, all had been hit with the hammer, and you're going to prosecute her for murder. Sounds like self-defense to me. Tack on the fact that she called 911 and tried to help him after he went down and I think you're going to waste a lot of people's time and taxpayer dollars on this.
wondering commented at 1/27/2010 7:09:00 PM:
Ok, so is Verina still in jail or what?!
Lance commented at 1/28/2010 10:06:00 AM:
The whole thing sounds strange to me. Self defense is when you are somewhere minding your own business and someone tries to attack you. Two cars full of girls following some guy who screwed some of them over is looking for trouble, especially when one of them is carrying a loaded 9mm. Now, I am in favor of everyone carrying handguns for personal protection, but it is strange that she was in the backseat with a gun. I carry a firearm in my truck daily, and maybe on a long road trip with a friend, but I don't take it everytime I ride with someone else. Where were her friends headed that made her think she needed a handgun? If I am at a red light and some guy tries to yank me out of my truck and I shoot and kill him, it is self defense. If some guy cuts me off in traffic and I follow him to a parking lot and try to harass him and end up killing him in the end, it is murder whether he had a gun or not. If those four shells had not misfired, he might be the one trying to claim self defense. Sounds like it just wasn't his day.
Zack commented at 1/28/2010 1:49:00 PM:
I grew up with Leslie and I grew up with Chris.. this is a hard situation for everyone involved.. such a sad deal all the way around.. I don't imagine we'll ever know the whole story...
Childs Family Friend commented at 1/30/2010 6:30:00 PM:
Verina Childs is out on bond. The grand jury indicted her for murder. The judge reduced her bond from $125,000 TO $75,000. She is out on bond. She got out last night. I want to know which judge reduced her bond. I know a lot of people who won't be voting for him come election time!
wondering commented at 1/31/2010 7:33:00 AM:
Thanks for letting me know. Reckon why he'd reduce her bond if she shot Doug in the BACK, obviously meaning to kill him? Who'd want to be around her now?
1. Spears: CMSD tax hike unnecessary COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
2. Over 25 arrested on drug-related charges COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
3. CPD officer involved in fight to go before city council COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
4. Man arrested after attack at Palmer Home COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
5. CMSD expected to tap reserves rather than raise taxes COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY