February 6, 2009
Neal Wagner -
A Brooksville man charged with shooting three people, stealing a police car and fleeing law enforcement officials last year is scheduled to stand trial during the upcoming term of the Lowndes County Circuit Court.
Lennell Hearn, 70, of 418 Marion Moore Road in Brooksville, is scheduled to appear in court Feb. 17, where he will stand trial on two counts of aggravated assault, four counts of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer and one count of felony taking of a motor vehicle.
Hearn is charged with shooting and wounding his wife, Dorothy Hearn, and former Columbus City Councilman Kamal Karriem near the Town Square Shopping Center on 18th Avenue North.
According to police, Hearn opened fire on the two at a gas station in the shopping center''s parking lot. Columbus police officers and Lowndes County sheriff''s deputies soon arrived on the scene and surrounded the suspect.
Hearn then opened fire on the officers, shooting CPD Reserve Officer Guy Taylor in the torso, authorities said. After the gun fight, Hearn stole a CPD patrol car and fled to the BancorpSouth parking lot on Highway 45 North. From there, the suspect led police on a foot chase to the parking lot of the Best Western hotel on Highway 45, where CPD Lt. Keith Worshaim shot Hearn in the neck.
Though four people were shot in the incident, everyone involved survived the ordeal.
Hearn''s trial has been continued at least once before, as he recently underwent a mental evaluation at the Mississippi State Mental Hospital in Jackson.
In December, the hospital confirmed Hearn was mentally competent to stand trial. He will be represented by local attorney Nicole Clinkscales.
Several murder trials also are scheduled for the upcoming term of the Lowndes County Circuit Court, which begins Monday:
Will Porter, 41, of 815 13th St. N., No. C-7, in Columbus, is scheduled to appear in court Feb. 26 for pretrial motions related to the murder case against him. Although he is not scheduled to stand trial until May, Porter will appear in court this month to make any last-minute motions, such as motions for discovery or motions to include certain pieces of evidence in the trial.
Porter faces capital murder charges for the shooting of his ex-wife, Mary Michelle Porter, at her home on Aug. 19, 2007.
Also scheduled to appear in court this month are Ida Doreen Weaver and Rennie Gibbs.
Weaver, 46, of 8295 Highway 182 E., No. 16, in Columbus, is scheduled to stand trial Feb. 17 on one count of capital murder.
Weaver faces charges of stabbing and killing her boyfriend, John Allen Bailey, in November 2006.
Teenager Rennie Gibbs also is scheduled to stand trial Dec. 1.
Gibbs, of 300 South Lehmberg Road in Columbus, faces murder charges after a cocaine overdose caused the stillbirth of her baby in December 2006. Although a minor, Gibbs is being tried as an adult under the state''s depraved heart murder law.
A pair of area men also are scheduled to stand trial this month on murder trials.
James Newell, 49, of 706 Sailor Cemetery Road in Vernon, Ala., who was arrested May 14 and charged with shooting and killing 31-year-old Adrian Boyette at the Slab House bar in Caledonia, is scheduled to stand trial Feb. 23.
Lowndes County sheriff''s deputies discovered Boyette, a Sulligent, Ala., resident, suffering from a gunshot wound to the chest after authorities received a 911 call reporting shots fired in the area.
After arriving at the scene of the shooting, emergency personnel rushed Boyette to Baptist Memorial Hospital-Golden Triangle, where he died shortly after arriving.
Lamar County, Ala., law enforcement officials later located Newell near Vernon, Ala., and detained him until Lowndes County officers took the suspect into custody and charged him with one count of murder.
Michael Shane Richardson, 27, of 126 Matson Road in Columbus, faces capital murder charges after a man he is accused of robbing in January 2007 died from wounds sustained after being beaten with a baseball bat.
Richardson also is scheduled to stand trial Feb. 23.