Crime lab backlog delays Godbolt indictment on 8 counts of murde - - Jackson, MS

Crime lab backlog delays Godbolt indictment on 8 counts of murder

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
LINCOLN COUNTY, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The understaffing at the state crime lab may be reaching a crisis level. Medical Examiners are fleeing the agency, leaving cases like a multi-fatal shooting in Lincoln county in limbo.

Willie Cory Godbolt is charged with killing eight people during a violent crime spree in Lincoln County. 

For nearly eight months he's been sitting in a jail cell waiting to be indicted because there's a backlog at the state crime lab.

"Our crime lab is just understaffed and overwhelmed on cases," said Lincoln County Sheriff Steve Rushing.

Among those cases is Lincoln County Deputy William Durr, one of Godbolt's victims in the May 27 fatal shootings. The sheriff is reminded of Durr daily and wears a bracelet bearing the slain deputy's name and date of his death.

Godbolt, 35, is also charged with the murders of seven relatives. Investigators say he shot family members at three different homes after arguing with his estranged wife over seeing their children.

The victims are Barbara Mitchell, Tocarra May, Brenda May, Feral Burrage, Sheila Burrage, 17-year-old Jordan Blackwell and 11-year-old Austin Edwards.

State Crime Lab investigators processed about 150 pieces of evidence at three crime scenes.

"Everyday you know it's still a step forward but you can't forget what went on of course. It's been extremely tough," added Sheriff Rushing.

Tougher still, while Godbolt is held at the Copiah County Sheriff's Department, fewer people are working on evidence to present to the grand jury in the case.

Officials say there is only one medical examiner at the state crime lab. Two have left in the past few months.

That is down from the 12 medical examiners that would handle 500 to 600 autopsies each year.

In the past two years, $1.1 million dollars has been cut from the crime lab budget.

Sheriffs like Rushing are looking to the legislature for help.

"Times are tight, but at the same time this is backlogging the whole criminal justice system," said Rushing. "It's got people caught up in local jails waiting. It's got victim's families waiting for justice".

The Lincoln County Grand Jury meets every three to four months. At this time the District Attorney's Office is not certain when the case against Godbolt will be presented.

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