Harbor Walk developer faces assault charges - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Harbor Walk developer faces assault charges

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John Burwell John Burwell
R. T. Clerk, 55, Jackson resident R. T. Clerk, 55, Jackson resident
RIDGELAND, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The developer of the Harbor Walk reservoir project appeared in court Tuesday on charges of assault against a trespasser who was fishing on his property.

John Burwell made no statement about the simple assault charges against him after leaving Ridgeland Municipal Court.

He is accused of shoving 55 year old R. T. Clerk of Jackson, a diabetic, who was fishing on the reservoir property Burwell leases.

Clerk testified that Burwell blocked his vehicle, cursed and shoved him three times on the night of April 26.

"He began to push me and shove me, and then he went to his truck like he was going to get a weapon," Clerk said.

The Jackson man told the court that he never saw Burwell with a weapon.

The Madison County developer said Clerk continued to fish when his workers told him twice that he was trespassing and asked him to leave.

Burwell said Clerk was still on the property when he arrived 45 minutes later.

"I wasn't being defiant that evening," Clerk said. "It's just that my line was caught in the rocks and as yall heard Mr. Burwell testify, he could have called the p.d., but he didn't. He decided to handle it himself. So he's the reservoir bully as far as I'm concerned."

Burwell's attorney Dana Kelly also declined comment following the proceedings.

Boty McDonald, Ridgeland's prosecutor, pointed out during testimony that the Harbor Walk lease agreement gives the public the right to fish and boat on the property.

But Burwell said that liability won't allow that to happen until the development is completed.

"The judge has reserved ruling," said Ridgeland Prosecutor Boty McDonald. "He's got to decide whether or not the state has met its burden that Mr. Clerk, that there was an attempt by Mr. Burwell to cause bodily injury."

If convicted Burwell could face up to six months in jail or a fine of up to $500.

Judge Hal McCarley is scheduled to render his decision August 1.

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