(Tunica County, MS) A mistrial was been declared in the James Willie murder trial Wednesday.
The outburst, during testimony Tuesday from Tunica Sheriff K.C. Hamp, brought a motion from the District Attorney for a mistrial as court got underway first thing Wednesday morning.
”He just jumped up and said, ‘y’all lying. Why they lying? Let me talk’ and that’s when they tazed him,” said Yolanda Smalley.
”They said chairs just flew and he went down, and they shocked him,” said Tosha Willie as she sat waiting to testify on her brother’s behalf.
Deputies say James Willie wore a device called “The Stinger” around his leg.
They insist Willie had plenty of warning and got three warning beeps before deputies activated it and stunned him.
”Once he gets to the third one, he’s gonna take an eight second ride and it’s gonna taze him on his ankle for eight seconds. It’s is gone put him on his knees or back or whatever else,” said Chief Deputy Randy Stewart of the Tunica County Sheriff’s Department.
It came, as prosecutors came close to wrapping up their case against Willie, on trial as the notorious Mississippi Highway Shooter.
As Judge Albert Smith heard the mistrial motion, more drama took place outside, as star witness Latoya Lewis, said to be with Willie a the time of the shooting, tried to back out of her testimony.
Smalley heard her shouts of protest, ”Why you all put it on the news and have me up like this? Then I got to testify and the way she was saying it, was like, she don’t want to do it.”
District Attorney Brenda Mitchell said the mistrial won’t affect her case, ”I feel confident about my case. I feel we have a strong case and we’re ready to go to trial whenever the judge reschedules.”
That trial will likely take place closer to Mitchell’s home base in Cleveland, MS.
Sources close to the case tell me Judge Smith is drawing up an order for a change of venue.
There’s no word for now when that re-trial will take place.
Willie is accused of two murders along north Mississippi highways in 2012.
The shootings, the first along I-55 in Panola County, left a Nebraska man dead.
Days later, investigators found Fitzgerald’s casino employee Lori Anne Carswell dead along I-69.