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Murder, rape cases in court this month


Ryan Poe



The Lowndes County Circuit Court has several high-profile cases slated for this month, including trials for depraved heart murder, capital murder and statutory rape by a police officer. 


First on the docket was Rennie Gibbs, who was charged with depraved heart murder in 2006 when she was 16. She is accused of overdosing on cocaine, causing her unborn child to be stillborn. 


Judge James Kitchens will preside over her trial, which is expected to be postponed until September while an appeal is filed. The appeal, if granted, would allow the trial to be moved outside Lowndes County. 


Sylvester Johnson, who is accused of killing Clarence "Big C" Trimble in a botched October 2009 robbery, will appear before Judge Lee Howard on Aug. 30.  


Johnson was arrested in Aberdeen, his hometown, following the shooting death at Trimble''s club, Big C''s Game Room on Stinson Creek Road in Lowndes County. He is charged with capital murder. 


Next on the docket is Richard Carr, who was a Columbus reserve police officer in 2009 when he was charged with two counts of statutory rape. 


He was fired after he was arrested in Oktibbeha County and the case was turned over to the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation. 


Kitchens is scheduled to preside over Carr''s hearing today. 


Also on the docket was Tommy Parker, former owner of Parker Kia on Highway 45 N, and Benjamin Lee Shelton, former Sunday school teacher and part-time youth leader. Parker''s case was continued until Sept. 16 and Shelton''s is scheduled for Aug. 24. 


Parker was charged in March 2009 with selling property without disclosing the lender when selling customer trade-ins, and with not paying off debt customers owed on vehicles. 


He owned the dealership for more than 10 years before shutting it and removing the inventory from the lot. 


Shelton, of 924 Third Ave. N., will appear before Howard Aug. 24 to face three charges of sexual battery during, reportedly, a "summer-camp type setting." 


He was arrested Jan. 22, 2009 after Lowndes County Sheriff''s Department investigators learned he may have sexually abused a 17-year-old boy. 


Shelton was a youth leader at Eastview Baptist Church in New Hope. 


Judge Kitchens on Monday scheduled a Sept. 11 court hearing for 16-year-old Tony Jennings, of 229 John Kidd Road in Columbus. Jennings was charged in June with the statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl at his house and with simple assault of a police officer. 


He is in jail on $30,000 bond awaiting his hearing. 




Court sentences 


Sixteenth Circuit Court Judges Kitchens and Howard gave the following sentences Monday during the August term in Lowndes County:



  • Tishar Holmes, of 77 Azalea Drive in Columbus, pleaded guilty to selling amphetamine, hydrondone and cocaine. She was sentenced to 12 years in the Mississippi Department of Corrections with five years post-release supervision. 


  • Michael Maxwell, of 954 Redwine Circle in West Point, pleaded guilty to a felony charge of false pretense and was sentenced to three years of supervised probation. 


  • Calvin Sherrod, of 210 Browder St. in Columbus, pleaded guilty to grand larceny and was sentenced to a year in the house arrest program and ordered to pay $55,727 in restitution to Microtek Medical.





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