Felony charges against Webster County's elected sheriff have been consolidated into one indictment.
The Webster County grand jury that was recalled May 21 indicted Tim Mitchell on a single 10-count indictment charging him with:
• two counts of embezzlement by a public official,
• two counts of trafficking in stolen firearms,
• attempted sexual activity between sheriff and inmate,
• intimidating a witness,
• attempted tampering with physical evidence,
• furnishing contraband to an inmate,
• tampering with a witness,
• and sale, possession or use of a controlled substance in a jail facility.
All of these charges were among those for which Mitchell was originally indicted and arraigned in January, which totaled 12 counts on five separate indictments. The previous indictments included two counts each of furnishing contraband to an inmate and sale, possession or use of a controlled substance in a jail facility. The new indictments include only one count each on those charges.
Mitchell was arraigned again May 28 before Circuit Judge Joey Loper at the Choctaw County Courthouse in Ackerman. The defendant entered a plea of not guilty and his bond was continued at $400,000. Mitchell’s trial date remains set at June 24; his attorney is Austin Vollor.
Assistant District Attorney Mike Howie, when asked about the status of the original indictments, said any charges in those indictments will be dismissed based on being consolidated.
“We're prepared to go to trial on the consolidated charges on June 24,” he said.
Mitchell, 54, has been out on bond since mid-January. According to the circuit clerk’s office, the original conditions of his bond continue as set then by Loper: he must be electronically monitored at all times, remain at home at all times while out on bond unless attending meeting with his lawyer or court proceedings or undergoing some type of medical treatment.
Mitchell must not have any contact with anybody with the Sheriff’s Department and is prohibited from having or attempting to exercise any duties of any kind associated with the sheriff’s office.
Mitchell, who is in his second term as sheriff, had tendered his resignation in November to take effect Jan. 2. However, following his arrest in December, he rescinded and withdrew his resignation so that he could continue to be sheriff. An elected official in Mississippi can only be removed from office after conviction of a felony or of willful neglected duty.
The Circuit Court appointed Andy McCants as sheriff pro tempore (acting sheriff) in January.
Mitchell had previously been co-indicted with former Chief Investigator Landon Griffin on charges of embezzlement by a public officer and trafficking in stolen firearms. However, Griffin is not included in any charges in the new indictment filed against Mitchell.
Griffin was released on bond in January after pleading not guilty during his arraignment. The calendar for the June term of Webster County Circuit Court shows his case is set for June 18 on separate charges of embezzlement and trafficking in stolen firearms for which he was indicted in January. Griffin is represented by Frances Springer.
A former jailer, Santana Gary, also pleaded not guilty at her arraignment in January on two counts of sexual activity between jailer and inmate, furnishing contraband to an inmate, and sale, possession or use of a controlled substance in a jail facility. She is also out on bond and her case has been continued until the January court term. Her attorney is Bruce Brown
In addition to Mitchell, these defendants who have been indicted were also arraigned May 28 before Loper. All entered pleas of not guilty, counsel was appointed for those who have not retained an attorney and bond was set for each. Trial for each was set for either June 17 or June 18; plea day is June 12.
• Cynthia Nicole Duncan: receiving stolen property; $5,000 bond.
• Derrick W. Andrews: possession of methamphetamine (2 grams or more but less than 10 grams); $5,000 bond.
• Richard Allen Allred: possession of methamphetamine (2 grams or more but less than 10 grams); $5,000 bond.
• Floyd Wendell Walker: possession of methamphetamine (.10 grams or more but less than 2 grams) and possession of Oxycodone, a Schedule II controlled substance; $5,000 bond.
• David Lynn Elkins: possession of methamphetamine (.10 grams or more but less than 2 grams); second or subsequent offender; $5,000 bond.
• Decoda Ryan Cissna: possession of methamphetamine (2 grams or more but less than 10 grams); $5,000 bond.
• Laquante Jamal Gaston: possession of marijuana (more than 30 but less than 250 grams); $10,000 bond.
• Mickey Vaughn: possession of methamphetamine (2 grams or more but less than 10 grams); $5,000 bond.
• Kenneth Wayne Threet: possession of methamphetamine (.10 grams or more but less than 2 grams); $5,000 bond.
• Justin Edward Cantrell: possession of methamphetamine (.10 grams or more but less than 2 grams); $5,000 bond.
• Hugh Everette Bland Jr.: automobile burglary; $5,000 bond.
• Elton Neil Gordon: : possession of methamphetamine (.10 grams or more but less than 2 grams); $20,000 bond.
• Courtney Marie Taylor and Ashley Brooke Beam: motor vehicle theft; $5,000 bond each.
• John Glenn Jackson: aggravated domestic violence; $5,000 bond.
• Rosie Mae Anderson: fourth-degree arson; $10,000 bond.
• Jeffrey Lynn Chism and Brandon McKay: grand larceny. Bond was denied for Chism and set at $10,000 for McKay.
• Robert Steven Smith: possession of methamphetamine and dissemination of sexually oriented material to person under 18 years of age; $25,000 bond.
• Joshua Ivan Martin: motor vehicle theft; $5,000 bond.