(Tunica, MS) James Carswell says his daughter’s kindness may have got her killed.
”She’s the kind of person that would stop on the highway or small road, get out and help.”
Investigators say the night of May 11th, 2012, Lori Anne Carswell left her job at Fitzgerald’s casino just before 2 a.m.
Minutes later, witnesses found her laying in a pool of blood next to her still-running car on Highway 69, less than a half mile from the DeSoto County line.
”I tried to get my daughter off the night shift, for years. I used to wait in bed every night till she’d call me,” said Mr. Carswell.
Now, James Willie of Panola County is standing trial for Carswell’s murder.
He'll face trial in June for the murder of a Nebraska man in the pair of shootings from that month.
Prosecutors say a bullet casing found near Carswell’s body matches a 9-millimeter Ruger owned by Willie.
Willie’s friends don’t believe it.
”Well, he’s a typical man. Him and his girlfriend got into it, me and my old man get into it, but not to kill nobody,” said Moesha Bowman.
Prosecutors say the Carswell murder happened as Willie and his girlfriend drove back from an Arkansas trip.
They say the Latoya Lewis drifted in and out of sleep as the two stopped at a car lot near Robinsonville, before heading toward I-69, and Carswell’s eventual murder.
Her father says his wounds will never heal and that Willie deserves the death penalty.
”Oh, he deserves that. He took my daughter with no mercy and I show him no mercy. I hope the state of Mississippi shows him no mercy.”
In a highly unusual move, Willie himself interrupted the trial and asked to speak to the judge. No one ever confirmed what that issue was about.
Latoya Lewis is expected to testify in the case, and she’s expected to say she saw Willie stop, and talk to a white woman along the road, before she heard “pop, pop, pop.”
Her testimony could come as early as Wednesday.