Jury clears DA on robbery charge, can't decide on stalking

A Mississippi jury on Wednesday found a prosecutor not guilty of robbery but could not reach a verdict on a stalking charge.

Posted: Sep 13, 2018 9:22 AM

BRANDON, Miss. (AP) — A Mississippi jury on Wednesday found a prosecutor not guilty of robbery but could not reach a verdict on a stalking charge.

Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith was on trial next door in Rankin County. The aggravated stalking charge against him ended with a hung jury Wednesday night, news outlets reported.

Attorney General Jim Hood's office prosecuted the case, which was connected to an August 2015 incident between Smith, Smith's former girlfriend Christie Edwards and a man named William Fears at a house Smith owned in Pearl. The robbery charge dealt with Smith taking Edwards' handgun.

Smith testified in his own defense. Witnesses said Smith pointed a gun after looking in a closet and seeing Fears, who was having a relationship with Edwards.

If convicted, Smith would have faced 15 years in prison on the robbery charge and five years on the aggravated stalking charge. A conviction would have meant Smith's removal from office.

This was the third time that the attorney general's office tried a case against Smith, who is elected in the state's most populous county. In 2017, Hinds County jurors acquitted Smith of hindering-prosecution charges after Hood accused Smith of providing aid to a defendant who faced multiple charges, including drug possession. An earlier jury could not reach a verdict on the same matter.

Smith's testimony on Wednesday answered testimony from Edwards and Fears on Tuesday over whether Smith had pointed a gun at either of them or had threatened, "I'll do it."

Smith said he merely withdrew his badge and "flashed" his gun, hoping to "de-escalate" the situation, news outlets reported. He said he never pulled his gun from the holster and said that he said, "Don't do it," not "I'll do it."

Smith didn't deny taking Edwards' handgun. His lawyers have said he was trying to defuse a dangerous situation and was acting as a district attorney.

Smith acknowledged pushing Edwards, which Smith and another witness on Tuesday said left her bruised.

"I pushed her lightly the first time, hoping to exit the (home)," Smith said. "I had to push her again with more force to leave."

Edwards said she was living in a home Smith owns in Pearl, even after she had broken up with him, when he showed up one day in 2015.

"He swung me around, threw me up against the counter and the door frame, and that's when I asked, 'Where's my gun,'" Edwards testified.

Smith is separately indicted on two counts of domestic violence, a case that could be prosecuted later.

Edwards said she waited a year to file charges out of fear of retaliation.

"'You can call whoever the (expletive) you want to call, nothing will come of this,'" Edwards said Smith told her during the August 2015 incident.

Fears said Smith found him hiding in a closet. Fears testified he began a romantic relationship with Edwards after she discovered Smith was having an affair with Fears' wife. Fears testified he was "deathly afraid of Smith" because of what he had heard about him.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 515504

Reported Deaths: 10296
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34999558
DeSoto33360432
Hinds32743643
Jackson24906392
Rankin22565405
Lee16455245
Madison14954283
Jones14158248
Forrest13834260
Lauderdale12311323
Lowndes11357193
Lamar10693140
Pearl River9748244
Lafayette8868143
Hancock7849132
Washington7559169
Oktibbeha7229138
Monroe7068179
Pontotoc7033110
Warren6885178
Panola6791135
Neshoba6744210
Marshall6707142
Bolivar6468151
Union643598
Pike5942157
Alcorn5921107
Lincoln5540136
George510680
Prentiss508285
Tippah495683
Itawamba4884107
Scott478999
Tate4777117
Adams4776125
Leflore4749144
Copiah458195
Yazoo458092
Simpson4566117
Wayne443472
Covington434895
Sunflower4319106
Marion4295112
Coahoma4244110
Leake414191
Newton396182
Tishomingo386894
Grenada3789109
Stone366166
Jasper341266
Attala340490
Chickasaw318367
Winston318392
Clay312978
Clarke301695
Calhoun286850
Holmes272889
Smith270552
Yalobusha244947
Tallahatchie232353
Greene225149
Walthall222166
Lawrence220242
Perry214556
Amite210357
Webster206548
Noxubee188843
Montgomery182157
Carroll175441
Jefferson Davis174343
Tunica163539
Benton153139
Kemper145441
Choctaw137027
Claiborne134839
Humphreys132239
Franklin126530
Quitman107828
Wilkinson106139
Jefferson97134
Sharkey65321
Issaquena1957
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 847659

Reported Deaths: 16172
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1163752005
Mobile743371381
Madison53434738
Shelby38413371
Baldwin38171589
Tuscaloosa36131643
Montgomery34571782
Lee25664264
Calhoun22622519
Morgan22527408
Etowah20059520
Marshall18821318
Houston17769426
St. Clair16946359
Limestone16192220
Cullman16140305
Elmore15948295
Lauderdale15055307
Talladega14244302
DeKalb13061271
Walker12138380
Blount10765193
Autauga10545157
Jackson10204195
Coffee9435192
Colbert9363210
Dale9038192
Tallapoosa7283202
Russell710165
Chilton7078170
Covington6967197
Escambia6962144
Franklin6364108
Chambers5795142
Marion5435130
Dallas5302210
Pike5128109
Clarke485686
Lawrence4845130
Winston4785110
Geneva4650136
Bibb435495
Barbour370180
Butler3444101
Marengo342793
Monroe338366
Randolph337767
Pickens334790
Fayette331485
Henry321066
Cherokee319964
Hale318889
Crenshaw261678
Washington256852
Cleburne255460
Lamar253555
Clay252069
Macon245767
Conecuh193562
Coosa185847
Wilcox178338
Lowndes178268
Bullock152745
Perry141840
Sumter139741
Greene130345
Choctaw94328
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