Blogger sentenced in Cochran photo scandal - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

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Blogger sentenced in Cochran photo scandal

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
MADISON COUNTY, MS (Mississippi News Now) - The Cochran photo scandal is over. A Madison County Circuit judge sentenced blogger Clayton Kelly to five years. But at least half of that will be on probation.

He pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge last Monday. In exchange, the burglary and attempted burglary charges were dropped.

In an interview with investigators, Kelly told them he felt "sick to his stomach" after taking the photo of Rose Cochran inside St. Catherine's village last Easter.

There weren't any bombshells from Monday's sentencing. A Madison police investigator recapped the web of conspiracy. District Attorney Michael Guest says there was a reason for that.

“The judge could see that one, Clayton Kelly knew what he was doing was wrong," Guest explained. "But also the judge could see that he did show remorse, that he did cooperate with the investigation.”

Kelly's attorney said they always knew the conspiracy charge would be a challenge to defend.

“It would've been what we always felt was our hardest part because everything was on Facebook," said Kevin Camp.

A whole stack of facebook conversations were submitted as evidence. In them, you see the way John Mary of Hattiesburg guided much of the activity. But it was ultimately Kelly who took the picture and made the video.

“Clayton was the guy that they were getting to go," noted Camp. "They were sort of egging him on to go in and get the photo. But it was actually these other individuals that were really pushing it sort of in the background.”

Rose Cochran died eight months after the photo was taken. Her son Clayton Cochran made a brief statement, saying they are still mourning his mother's death. He said it was their hope, "that these proceedings may clear our conscience and everyone else's.”

The other men involved did not receive jail time. But Kelly had a prior felony drug conviction. So the judge gave him five years. At least half of that will be probation.

Attorneys don't expect Clayton Kelly will serve a full two years and six months in prison. But they aren't sure exactly what percentage of that it might be.

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