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Mississippi Supreme Court hears appeal of Bogue Chitto man who killed 8 in 2017

Photo courtesy of Mississippi Department of Corrections

The case of a Bogue Chitto man accused of murdering eight individuals in 2017 was heard in the Mississippi Supreme Court on Tuesday after filing a petition to appeal his case.

Willie Cory Godbolt’s case was presented for oral arguments pertaining to his sentences to life in prison and the death sentence for the murders of numerous individuals at three different locations.

The 41-year-old was taken into custody for the Memorial Day shooting that began around 11:30 p.m. at a house located in Bogue Chitto, which resulted in three women and 36-year-old police officer William Durr receiving fatal wounds.

According to police, the shooting started after Godbolt’s wife, Sheena May, refused to return his children to him. May and her daughter had recently moved out of Godbolt’s shared house, but escaped before the incident began.

Officials then found two males dead in another home in Brookhaven, before discovering a man and female shot to death at a third residence.

Authorities later released that the three women found in the first location had been identified as May’s mother, aunt, and sister.

In all, Godbolt was accused of taking the lives of Durr, Barbara Mitchell, Brenda May, Toccara May, Austin Edwards, Jordan Blackwell, Ferral Burrage, and Sheila Burrage. He was charged with four counts of murder and four counts of capital murder in late February 2020.

Since then, Godbolt has been held at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman, where he wrote a petition in October addressed to the Court of Appeals requesting for additional arguments to be made in the case of Willie Cory Godbolt v. State of Mississippi.

“I respectfully ask this court to consider this presentation of additional arguments, as I pray for a rehearing on the motion to make oral arguments,” Godbolt wrote. “I pray that the court would grant me my appellant right provided by Mississippi Code Section 99-19-105.”

The death row inmate’s case was heard a little over a month later by all nine members of the Mississippi Supreme Court, with oral arguments from attorney Greg Spore with the State Defender’s Office and attorney Allison Hartman with the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office.

Spore argued that including evidence of Godbolt’s violent acts towards his wife prior to the incident was prejudicial and that there should have been separate trials due to the shootings taking place at three locations.

Hartman requested for the court to keep Godbolt’s original sentences. The Supreme Court concluded that a ruling would be issued at a later date following the hearing.

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