WEATHER AUTHORITY : Severe Thunderstorm Watch View Alerts
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Walton family files claim of wrongful death against chief, City of Verona

A deadly drive-by victim's family is filing a claim against the City of Verona and its police chief after they say a suspect was illegally released from jail without bond.

Posted: Dec 18, 2018 9:53 PM
Updated: Dec 19, 2018 10:26 AM

TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) - A deadly drive-by victim's family is filing a claim against the City of Verona and its police chief after they say a suspect was illegally released from jail without bond.

The notice of this lawsuit comes right after the funeral for the victim was held Tuesday.

Latavious Betts, 17, is accused in the death of 66-year-old Annie Walton in the December 7 shooting that occurred in the Palmetto community of Lee County. 

“He never should have been on the streets," said the Walton's attorney Casey Lott on Betts. "He should have been behind bars and incapable of committing crimes. The ball was dropped not once but twice by Chief J.B. Long.”

In a previous interview, Long stated that he did not have enough evidence to hold Betts.

The facts on which the claim is based state that Long arranged for Betts to not see a judge for an initial appearance on his first murder charge for a shooting that took place back in April.

Legal documents for the suspect's waiver of initial appearance and appearance bond were never signed by a judge or Lee County Sheriff Jim Johnson.

Fast forward to July, Betts is back in handcuffs for another shooting, in which he is charged with aggravated assault.

“So he never should have been allowed to post bond on the aggravated assault charge," said Lott. "Unfortunately, he was allowed to do so because the chief of police, J.B. Long, failed to inform Judge Holland that he was already out on bond for a first-degree murder charge.”

The recent deadly shooting could have all been avoided, according to the family.

“Never have I heard of this happening before," expressed Lott. "Someone being released on a recognizance bond on a murder charge is I’m sure unprecedented.”

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 497379

Reported Deaths: 9907
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34085530
DeSoto31806398
Hinds31796621
Jackson24303377
Rankin21852387
Lee15413233
Madison14513278
Jones13770241
Forrest13401250
Lauderdale11936314
Lowndes10908184
Lamar10461135
Pearl River9428237
Lafayette8450137
Hancock7690126
Washington7361156
Oktibbeha7110129
Monroe6713173
Warren6635175
Neshoba6606204
Pontotoc6603101
Panola6458131
Marshall6378132
Bolivar6264145
Union595194
Pike5780152
Alcorn5630100
Lincoln5416134
George490479
Scott470698
Tippah464981
Prentiss464181
Leflore4626143
Itawamba4590104
Adams4570119
Tate4539109
Copiah444691
Simpson4419116
Wayne438572
Yazoo437586
Covington427194
Sunflower4215104
Marion4206107
Coahoma4114104
Leake407287
Newton380879
Grenada3691108
Stone358264
Tishomingo355991
Attala330189
Jasper328065
Winston312891
Clay305875
Chickasaw296567
Clarke290294
Calhoun277645
Holmes266587
Smith262550
Yalobusha232347
Tallahatchie225251
Walthall217663
Greene215448
Lawrence211140
Perry204555
Amite203454
Webster201645
Noxubee184940
Montgomery178956
Jefferson Davis170642
Carroll167338
Tunica158539
Benton147038
Kemper141241
Choctaw133026
Claiborne131037
Humphreys128838
Franklin119128
Quitman106227
Wilkinson104339
Jefferson94234
Sharkey64020
Issaquena1937
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 811551

Reported Deaths: 15101
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1138721885
Mobile720161315
Madison51829685
Shelby37203339
Baldwin37018538
Tuscaloosa34853599
Montgomery33879718
Lee23097239
Calhoun22095468
Morgan20584368
Etowah19727496
Marshall18224298
Houston17270405
St. Clair15884337
Cullman15257289
Limestone15177197
Elmore14944283
Lauderdale14060294
Talladega13653270
DeKalb12530258
Walker11055363
Blount10071174
Autauga9874146
Jackson9760177
Coffee9171188
Dale8850180
Colbert8768200
Tallapoosa7028194
Escambia6714127
Covington6661179
Chilton6571160
Russell623458
Franklin5926105
Chambers5553142
Marion4942126
Dallas4848199
Clarke472681
Pike4713105
Geneva4557126
Winston4456101
Lawrence4247116
Bibb421186
Barbour355274
Marengo333889
Monroe329062
Randolph324663
Butler323694
Pickens313479
Henry310365
Hale308586
Cherokee299257
Fayette289779
Washington250850
Cleburne245758
Crenshaw243075
Clay238867
Macon229862
Lamar214846
Conecuh185051
Coosa177338
Lowndes173061
Wilcox166738
Bullock151744
Perry137940
Sumter130738
Greene125344
Choctaw86527
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Partly Cloudy
75° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 75°
Columbus
Partly Cloudy
81° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 84°
Oxford
Partly Cloudy
73° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 73°
Starkville
Partly Cloudy
81° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 84°
A cold front passing through our area overnight will bring into our area some of the coolest temperatures of the season so far. We will see most of the highs this weekend only in the upper 60s to lower 70s. While overnight lows will drop off down into the 40s Saturday night.
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather