Retrial delayed for Mississippi man in Nebraskan’s killing

James Willie

BATESVILLE, Miss. — The retrial of a Mississippi man charged with the 2012 killing of a Nebraska traveler has been delayed.

The Panola County Circuit Clerk’s office reported Circuit Judge James McClure III postponed the trial, which was set to begin Monday. The judge hasn’t yet signed an order setting a new trial date.

James Willie was convicted for shooting Tom Schlender while the 74-year-old Nebraska resident drove on Interstate 55. Schendler was traveling to Florida to pick up his grandson.

The Mississippi Supreme Court reversed the case in December and ordered a new trial, saying the judge erred when responding to a jury question.

Willie was sentenced to life in prison in another murder in September 2016.

Investigators said Lori Anne Carswell left her job at Fitzgerald’s casino just before 2 a.m. on May 11, 2012.

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.

Prosecutors said a bullet casing found near Carswell’s body matches a 9-millimeter Ruger owned by Willie.

They told WREG the Carswell murder happened as Willie and his girlfriend drove back from an Arkansas trip.