Through legislation some state senators are taking aim at the state's current murder law because of what they feel is a lack of justice for victims.
"A lot of times these crimes get plead down to a manslaughter and the max that person can do is 20 years," said Senator Sean Tindell, a republican from Gulfport.
That could all change. Under a senate bill which passed Thursday morning, a second degree murder charge would be added to Mississippi law. Currently there's only one murder statute in the state which carries a life sentence. The next tier is manslaughter which carries up to 20 years. Under the bill, a second degree murder charge would carry a sentence of 25 years to life.
"This gives us an option in those cases that now may fall somewhere between murder and manslaughter," said Michael Guest, district attorney for Madison and Rankin Counties.
Guest says the addition of second degree murder would give juries and judges discretion on convictions and sentences.
"The sentence that could be imposed in this bill is still life, so I feel that this in no means weakens current laws," said Guest.
The state prosecutors association is backing the bill and even helped draft it. However, Jones County assistant district attorney J. Ronald Parrish isn't on board with the idea.
"We've always had it in this state where murder means murder." said Parrish.
Parrish says the new category would decrease the penalties for current murder charges.
"They propose to classify certain murders as second degree where the person could possibly get off with a sentence as little as 20 years, which is less than you can get for selling ten dollars worth of cocaine," said Parrish.
Currently 34 other states have a second degree murder charge on the books. The Mississippi house has even passed a similar bill to the one passed by the senate. Those two bills could soon make Mississippi state number 35.
Monday, May 20 2013 11:48 PM EDT2013-05-21 03:48:15 GMT
A woman has been arrested after she allegedly locked her four young daughters out of their home for days at a time.A witness told police that the four girls, ages 7, 5, 3 and 1, had been in the same dirtyMore >>
A woman has been arrested after she allegedly locked her four young daughters out of their home for days at a time.More >>
Monday, May 20 2013 8:21 PM EDT2013-05-21 00:21:00 GMT
Jackson Police are investigating a homicide in west Jackson Monday after a body was discovered inside a residence on Arbor Vista Boulevard. According to Officer Colendula Green with JPD, officers haveMore >>
Jackson police have released the identity of the man found dead in a west Jackson house Monday morning.More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 10:34 AM EDT2013-05-21 14:34:41 GMT
NOTE: Photos and videos will be added to this story later in the evening. The Walthall County Sheriffs Department along with The Humane Society of the United States are in the process of raiding a puppyMore >>
Among the dogs, many are dead, and skeletal remains were mixed with living animals in small, dark, filthy enclosures.More >>
Friday, May 17 2013 7:16 PM EDT2013-05-17 23:16:53 GMT
One person has died in a crash near Harrisonville, MO, Thursday evening. The crash happened on Missouri Highway 7 and Walker Road. It involved a car and a tractor-trailer. Harrisonville is in Cass County.More >>
Savannah Nash celebrated her 16th birthday last week. She died Thursday when her car slammed into a semi while she was texting during her first time driving by herself.More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 10:36 AM EDT2013-05-21 14:36:49 GMT
(RNN) – A day after long track tornadoes devastated Shawnee and Edmond, OK, another round has begun near Oklahoma City.KOCO broadcast a slow rotating cloud that slowly extended down towards the groundMore >>
Dozens of people have died after a second day of tornadoes twisted through Oklahoma, this time taking aim at the town of Moore, south of Oklahoma City.More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 2:42 PM EDT2013-05-21 18:42:15 GMT
Residents in tornado-stricken Moore, OK, await news on missing love ones Tuesday, a day after a massive tornado devastated the city, killing at least 51. Rescuers worked all night, with particular attentionMore >>
The tornado, with winds up to 200 mph, cut a 20-mile stretch as wide as two miles through the Oklahoma City metro area. The medical examiner's office reported 24 people died, including nine children. More >>
Monday, May 20 2013 9:37 PM EDT2013-05-21 01:37:07 GMT
A body discovered in Clinton Saturday night has led to a homicide investigation. Hinds County Coroner Sharon Grisham Stewart confirms a body was discovered, although few other details are known. The bodyMore >>
Clinton Police Department's Interim Chief Mike Warren said upon further investigation, it appears a disagreement over a woman may have led to the death of a Jackson man.
Monday, May 20 2013 2:26 PM EDT2013-05-20 18:26:49 GMT
Hinds County sheriff's deputies seized five pounds of marijuana and made two arrests as the result of a three-month investigation. Sheriff's office officials say the northeast Jackson investigation isMore >>
Hinds County sheriff's deputies seized five pounds of marijuana and made two arrests as the result of a three-month investigation.More >>
An Oregon girl abducted as a baby and missing for 18 years finally emerged in Dallas this week when her mother turned herself in to authorities, according to the Polk County Sheriff's Department. More >>
An Oregon girl abducted as a baby and missing for 18 years finally emerged in Dallas this week when her mother turned herself in to authorities, according to the Polk County Sheriff's Department.More >>
Monday, May 20 2013 12:10 PM EDT2013-05-20 16:10:06 GMT
(WMC-TV) - Arlington High School senior Taylor Flake thought she was making history when her classmates elected her to be the school's first African-American class president. "It's more than just me representingMore >>
Arlington High School senior Taylor Flake thought she was making history when her classmates elected her to be the school's first African-American class president.
So when the school started planning for the commencement, Flake said she was shocked to find out that she was not among those chosen to speak.More >>
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