DA Lawrence: 'Today I declare war on street gangs' - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

DA Lawrence: 'Today I declare war on street gangs'

District Attorney Tony Lawrence says he's declaring a war on street gangs. The DA said in a news conference "enough is enough" and vows that police will "bring law and order back to our streets." (Photo source: WLOX) District Attorney Tony Lawrence says he's declaring a war on street gangs. The DA said in a news conference "enough is enough" and vows that police will "bring law and order back to our streets." (Photo source: WLOX)
GEORGE COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - We're learning more about one of the murder suspects in the Donovan Cowart murder case. This isn't the first time Welford Lee Levi McCarty has been charged in a murder case. Back in March 2013, McCarty was linked to a George County murder. But the DA says he had to dismiss that charge and let McCarty walk free after a witness changed his story.

Now, District Attorney Tony Lawrence says it's time for Mississippi to create laws that prevent witness intimidation.

"Today, I declare war on street gangs," Lawrence announced Friday morning at a news conference. He was flanked by law enforcement leaders from the city, the state and the federal government to announce the new initiative.

"We are standing together shoulder-to-shoulder to fight these people," Jackson County Sheriff Mike Ezell said.

"For too long, aggravated assaults, robberies, stealing from law abiding citizens, murder and other crimes have gone unpunished because of witness intimidation, manipulation and harassment. And I say today enough is enough," Lawrence said.

The district attorney cited this week's arrest of Greene County murder suspect Welford Lee Levi McCarty as an example of witness tampering at its worst. McCarty is sitting in jail right now, accused of killing Donovan Cowart two years ago and dumping his body in a Greene County pond. Back in 2013, two months after Cowart first disappeared, authorities arrested McCarty and charged him with capital murder for the death of Joshua Gautier. Months later, McCarty walked out of jail because the case against him fell apart.

"That occurred because of witnesses changing testimony," Lawrence said. "Witness recounting testimony because what I maintain, my opinion, was fear. Fear of intimidation. And that man walked free."

The DA said it's time for Mississippi to adopt witness protection legislation to help deal with intimidation issues. In the meantime, law enforcers vow to work in unison to shut down gang activity.

"We will come after you with every legal asset at our disposal," Sheriff Ezell promised.

"If you're a member of a street gang, you need to know this, we're bringing law and order back to our streets," Lawrence said.

Copyright 2015 WLOX. All rights reserved.

  • NEWSMore>>

  • St. Martin million-dollar scholar puts emphasis on community outreach

    St. Martin million-dollar scholar puts emphasis on community outreach

    Saturday, April 21 2018 10:00 PM EDT2018-04-22 02:00:34 GMT
    She has a long list of organizations to her credit, and she’s earned 1,500 hours in community service with projects of her own creation. (Photo: WLOX)She has a long list of organizations to her credit, and she’s earned 1,500 hours in community service with projects of her own creation. (Photo: WLOX)

    As a student at the Mississippi School for Math and Science, Brianna Ladnier of St. Martin can now call herself a million-dollar scholar.

    More >>

    As a student at the Mississippi School for Math and Science, Brianna Ladnier of St. Martin can now call herself a million-dollar scholar.

    More >>
  • Rain returns Sunday

    Rain returns Sunday

    Saturday, April 21 2018 9:32 PM EDT2018-04-22 01:32:53 GMT

    The WLOX First Alert Weather team is tracking another storm system that will bring the chance for scattered showers and thunderstorms Sunday.

    More >>

    The WLOX First Alert Weather team is tracking another storm system that will bring the chance for scattered showers and thunderstorms Sunday.

    More >>
  • Mississippi Supreme Court rejects zoning for Costco store

    Mississippi Supreme Court rejects zoning for Costco store

    Saturday, April 21 2018 8:43 PM EDT2018-04-22 00:43:02 GMT
    A unanimous Mississippi Supreme Court says a suburb acted improperly in rezoning property for what would be Mississippi's first Costco store. (Photo source: WLOX)A unanimous Mississippi Supreme Court says a suburb acted improperly in rezoning property for what would be Mississippi's first Costco store. (Photo source: WLOX)

    A unanimous Mississippi Supreme Court says a suburb acted improperly in rezoning property for what would be Mississippi's first Costco store.

    More >>

    A unanimous Mississippi Supreme Court says a suburb acted improperly in rezoning property for what would be Mississippi's first Costco store.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly