Miss. death sentence overturned, mental evaluation ordered

25 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Man who said ‘the Lord’ led him to kill off death row.

JACKSON, Miss. State Supreme Court has thrown out the guilty plea and death sentence of a Copiah County man who walked into a Wesson pawn and killed the owner because he said the owner didn’t follow “the Lord.” The Mississippi Supreme Court has thrown out the guilty plea and death sentence of a Copiah County man who walked into a Wesson pawnshop on Sept. 8, 2009, and killed the owner because he said the owner didn’t follow “the Lord.” Erik Wayne Hollie claimed “the Lord” led him to pawnshop owner Denmon Ward. A couple of days before the slaying, Hollie robbed a gas station attendant at knife point because, according to Hollie, the two men had argued about religion, according to court records. Justices on Thursday threw out 30-year-old Erik Wayne Hollie’s guilty pleas in the pawn shop shooting and for robbing a gas-station attendant at knifepoint. Hollie, now 30, will remain in custody while awaiting either reconsideration by the Supreme Court or a mental evaluation by a lower court, said André de Gruy of the Office of Capital Defense Counsel, which is representing Hollie.

Hollie’s public defender, Alison Steiner, argued that Hollie was suffering from “a bipolar-type situation” at the time he waived assistance of another defense attorney and pleaded guilty. The only thing before the jury from the defense was Hollie’s own statement to the jury, which was just one sentence. “I ask that you let the Lord deal with me and sentence me to death.” The jury did just that. If he is found to be incompetent, he should be sent to the Mississippi State Hospital at Whitfield or another appropriate mental health facility, the ruling said. When asked why he had come to the police department that day, Hollie replied that “the Lord” had led him there “to turn myself in or die.” He also stated that he planned to “go to his death” that morning but the officers talked him out of it.

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