In a perfect world someone who killed another person, would go to trial, be sentenced and serve out their punishment — all of this hopefully within a couple months.
This is not a perfect world.
There are seven individuals charged with murder in the Lee County Jail and none of them has even made it to trial yet. The aforementioned are:
Latavious Betts, 17 who was booked into the jail on Dec. 14, 2018.
Quindaris Burress, 15 who was booked into the jail on Nov. 3, 2017.
Jarnaruis Chandler, 24 who was booked into the jail on Oct. 3, 2018.
Antonio Gladney, 37 who was booked into the jail on May 15, 2017.
Sandarius Isby, 21 who was booked into the jail on April 29, 2019.
Xzavious Johnson, 30 who was booked into the jail on Aug. 4, 2018.
Judy Smith, 55 who was booked into the jail on June 25, 2018.
“There is no bond on five of them. They are permanent residents of the sheriff department. They can’t get out. These are waiting trial. We haven’t even gotten to the transfer part (to the Mississippi Department of Corrections),” said Lee County Sheriff Jim Johnson. “Waiting to go to trial could be years on end. According to state law they are supposed to go to trial in 276 days but if there is a hic-up with the court or the defendant decides to postpone it, then the 276 days starts all over again.”
The two who have bonds are Gladney, $110,000 and Isby, $1 million.
On Mother’s Day 2017, Molly Gladney, 64, was found dead in her carport on CR 54. She died from what the Lee County Coroner Carolyn Green refered to as “a brutal attack.”
That same day, as a result of the criminal investigation, Antonio, her son was charged with murder (habitual), felony fleeing, aggravated assault, burglary and more. His trial has been delayed so he can have a psychological evaluation.
“The other with the $1 million bond (Isby)— no one is making it,” Johnson said. “The thing you have to think about is you’ve got seven murderers and six of them male and the way this building is designed — the smallest unit we have houses 32 people. So if you can only put murderers in a certain area, then six people take up 32 beds. That’s what people don’t see. And on the female side, we’ve got one female pod. So she’s housed with the DUIs — she’s housed with them all because we have one unit.”
The Lee County Jail has seven pods, each capable of holding 32 inmates. Pod is a term that is often interchangeably used in place of "section", "unit", "block" , or many of the other words meant to describe a section where inmates are housed.
“We do separate the murderers and violent offenders from the general population as best we can, but it’s a major uphill battle,” Johnson said.
Publisher’s note: Next week the Courier will look at another problem with housing at the Lee County Jail, those who have been sentenced and are awaiting transfer to the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC).