A Coahoma County jury was unable to reach a verdict last week in a case involving a Clarksdale man accused of first-degree murder in the May 2015 death of a security guard at a local power plant.
Demarcus Bryant, 24, had been facing the possibility of life in prison, but instead will await to see if prosecutors will retry the case against him.
After three days of testimony and nearly four hours of deliberation, the jury said late in the afternoon of Wednesday, Aug. 1 that they were unable to reach a verdict. Circuit Court Judge Charles Webster then declared a mistrial.
The jury was deadlocked on a 7-5 vote and those numbers didn’t change when Webster asked the jury to continue their deliberations.
“There was a clear split between the jury and their consideration of the case,” said defense attorney John Keith Perry of the Perry Griffin law firm in Southaven.
Perry said he hasn’t had a discussion with prosecutors on whether they plan to retry the case.
He said his client looks forward to the chance to clear his name.
“He’s innocent of the charges,” Perry said. “He didn’t have anything to do with the planning, commission, execution in any kind of way.”
Bryant was indicted June 1, 2016, by a Coahoma County grand jury for the May 12, 2015, murder of Finnis “Butch” Catledge III.
The indictment claims that Catledge, 59, was shot with a rifle in the early morning hours while he was working at the guard house at the Lewis Wilkins Generating Station located in the 200 block of Hicks Street.
Police said Catledge was inside the gate surrounding the facility when he was shot multiple times by someone on the other side.
Catledge, who was an avid ham radio operator, bicycle rider and photographer, was a security guard with Woods Security.
From a defense standpoint, Perry said, a mistrial can often be viewed as a good thing.
“He (Bryant) took it (the mistrial) in stride and has confidence in the judicial system and is anxiously awaiting to get out,” Perry said of his client, who remains incarcerated at the Coahoma County Jail in Clarksdale.
Perry said they plan to ask that a bond be set for Bryant. He’s been in jail ever since his arrest.
Also charged in the case were Kentavious “Tay Tay” Nolan and Jeremy “Bird” Evans, 24, of 417 Mooney St. in Clarksdale and who is currently an inmate at the Coahoma County Jail.
In a written statement filed July 21, 2016, Nolan wrote that Evans had nothing to do with the murder nor was he present when it happened.
Nolan wrote that Evans left before the murder took place and “he did not know what was going on.”
On July 31, 2018, Evans pled guilty to conspiracy to commit murder.
In exchange for his testimony against the two other defendants, Evans will receive five years’ probation on the charge, which carries a 20-year maximum sentence.