Prosecutor Will Not Seek The Death Penalty - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

10/19/04

Prosecutor Will Not Seek The Death Penalty

A Wiggins man accused of killing a Moss Point police officer will not face the death penalty, if he is found guilty. That announcement came Tuesday before testimony started in Jonathan White's capital murder trial.

District Attorney Tony Lawrence said he will not seek the death penalty against White, at the request of Larry Lee's family.

Police say White killed Lee in 2002 when he rammed his patrol car while fleeing a routine traffic stop.

"We had a meeting this morning with the family. At the consultation with the family and discussing the actually laws and facts of the case, they asked me to consider not going for the death penalty, and I respect their wishes. I believe victims should have rights in the court room. They lost a family member and I'm certainly going to abide by their desires," Jackson County District Attorney Tony Lawrence said.

In opening statements Tuesday, prosecutors said White could have stopped, instead of hitting Lee's car.

Defense attorneys claim that White did not intend to harm Lee, and that White should have been charged with manslaughter, not capital murder.

The trial turned emotional for the Lee family. For the first time, they heard a dispatch tape of Lee's last words before his car was hit on Highway 63.

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