Judge rules Baxter can not die, even if found guilty in sheriff's death

It's WLOX News Director Brad Kessie.  We heard from the judge today who will preside over the Christopher Baxter trial.  Richard McKenzie ruled Baxter "is mentally retarded as defined by the Mississippi Supreme Court."

Consequently, Baxter cannot be sentenced to death if a jury determines he's guilty of killing George County Sheriff Garry Welford. However, Judge McKenzie also ruled Baxter's confession to investigators could be used during his trial.

"While the Defendant has a low IQ," the judge wrote in his order denying the suppression of that confession, "he is familiar with the criminal justice system."  Baxter's capital murder trial is May 7 in Natchez.

Tonight, our ABC viewers get a bird's eye view of Mississippi's barrier islands.  Doug Walker flew with BP's president of Gulf Coast Restoration Mike Utsler a few hours ago to see what the islands, and our coastline look like two years after the oil spill.

"We estimate we're over 99 percent complete on the main beaches. We are still patrolling and monitoring," Utsler said.  See for yourself on WLOX News at 6:00. Then, flip over to our CBS channel and check out WLOX News at 6:30.  If you do, you'll be the first to see the makeover under consideration for downtown Long Beach.

The Mississippi Main Street Association has analyzed what the city should do to enhance its downtown area.  Tonight, it unveils its ideas.  Your sneak peek at what may be next for downtown Long Beach will be seen first on WLOX News at 6:30.

And congratulations to Jackson County. It's about to celebrate its bicentennial.  Today, those festivities kicked into high gear.  How will the county celebrate its 200th birthday?  You'll see on WLOX News at 10:00.

I'll talk with you tomorrow.  Have a great night.