Lincoln County murder suspect appears in court

Willie Godbolt | Photo: MGN Online

A judge says jurors will probably have to be chosen from another part of the state for the trial of a man charged with killing eight people in south Mississippi.

Posted: May 3, 2018 4:30 PM

BROOKHAVEN, Miss. (AP) — A judge says jurors will probably have to be chosen from another part of the state for the trial of a man charged with killing eight people in south Mississippi.

Willie Cory Godbolt appeared Thursday before Lincoln County Circuit Judge David Strong in a hearing to update the status of the case, the Clarion Ledger reported.

"Candidly, my thought is that there is no way that a jury can be selected anywhere south of Jackson," Strong said.

The judge also said the jury will more than likely have to be chosen from somewhere that does not receive coverage from Jackson news outlets. Brookhaven is about 70 miles (110 kilometers) south of Jackson.

No trial date has been set.

Godbolt has been jailed without bond since his May 28 arrest, hours after the killings in and around Brookhaven.

Deputy William Durr responded to a disturbance late May 27 at the home of Godbolt's in-laws. The 36-year-old deputy was killed there, as were Godbolt's mother-in-law, Barbara Mitchell, 55; Mitchell's sister, Brenda May, 53; and May's daughter, Tocarra May, 35.

Two cousins — 11-year-old Austin Edwards and 18-year-old Jordan Blackwell — were killed at a second home. A husband and wife, Ferral Burage, 45, and Shelia Burage, 46, were killed at a third home.

Authorities are awaiting reports on four autopsies.

Godbolt was indicted in March on four counts of capital murder, four counts of murder, one count of attempted murder, two counts of kidnapping and one count of armed robbery. Days after the indictments, he pleaded not guilty to all counts. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty on the four counts of capital murder.

Godbolt's new attorney, Alison Steiner of the State Public Defender's office, asked the judge Thursday to let Godbolt wear civilian clothes during court hearings, which she said are likely to receive widespread media coverage. Strong said he would leave Godbolt's attire up to the sheriff.

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