Former Terry mayor sentenced to 40 years in prison - - Jackson, MS

Former Terry mayor sentenced to 40 years in prison

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
TERRY, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The former mayor of Terry has been sentenced to prison for embezzlement.

58-year-old Rod Nicholson is sentenced to 40 years in prison with 30 years suspended. He will serve 10 years behind bars.

Judge William Chapman of Rankin County sent a clear message to the public Monday.

"Don't come in to Madison or Rankin County and steal public funds," Judge Chapman said.

Judge Chapman felt Nicholson didn't fully take responsibility for what he had done. 

"I don't know how this happened. I do feel in my heart it wasn't intentional," Nicholson explained. 

He's been ordered to pay over $7,000 in restitution, including court costs. 

He was arrested in March for using a city credit card to pay over $2,000 in repairs to his car. Prosecutors believe he embezzled more than $32,000. 

"I think the sentence was unfair because if it was any other way that could be negotiated with him or anything in his favor that he could have done to better himself, I think he could have stood up and done that. I don't think he has been treated fairly," Valerie Berry explained.

"[I'm] relieved that it's over. That we are going to have a new Mayor and a special election coming up and this bad chapter is behind us," said city resident Terry Johnson.

Judge Chapman asked Nicholson if he knew he was using the company credit card and became frustrated when Nicholson kept avoiding the question.

"In my mind anytime a person does come, plead guilty, puts the state through the cost of having a trial...that indicates an acceptance of responsibility," said Damon Stevenson, Defense Attorney for Nicholson.

 "I think it's definitely a message that's been sent today. Mr. Nicholson refused to take responsibility, even during the proceedings. Judge gave him every opportunity. He refused and so he got what he earned basically," said Marvin Sanders from the State Attorney General's Office.

 A special election will be set to seat a new mayor of Terry.

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