Trial underway for suspect in high-profile sexual assault, kidna - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Trial underway for suspect in high-profile sexual assault, kidnapping case

Cameron Dwayne May (Photo source: Jackson County jail docket) Cameron Dwayne May (Photo source: Jackson County jail docket)
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JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

A coast man is on trial for a brutal sexual assault and kidnapping in Ocean Springs. Cameron Dwayne May, 26, is facing charges of aggravated assault, kidnapping, and sexual battery.

It all stems from an incident at the Dominion Apartments in September of 2015. That's when May reportedly attacked Barbi Jalanivich, who worked as a leasing agent at the apartment complex. Her father, Danny, said she had extensive injuries, including a split ear, swelling on the brain, and a fractured jaw.

It's a WLOX policy to not identify victims of sexual assaults, but in this case, Danny wanted to share Barbi’s story to put a face to this horrible crime.

May’s trial began Tuesday in a Jackson County courtroom. He has been behind bars since his arrest on Sept. 21, 2015.

May’s attorney, Melvin Cooper, argued his client has a long history of events that could lead to mental issues. Prosecuting attorney Bobby Knochel said May does have mental issues but can’t be considered legally insane.

The prosecution said May admitted to the assault, a point May’s defense attorney did not dispute.

Knochel said May planned out the attack and chose an apartment complex that would have very few witnesses. May allegedly went to several complexes before settling on Dominion.

The jury has heard testimony from several witnesses in the first hours of the trial, including witnesses from the apartments, a police officer, and Barbi and Danny Jalanivich. The jury also heard from a nurse who treated Barbi at the hospital after the vicious attack. The nurse testified Barbi had bruises and cuts when she arrived for treatment.

Testimony from Barbi and Danny was emotional. Barbi said she has no recollection of May sexually assaulting her. 

The jury also saw body camera footage from the officer who initially responded to the call, Ocean Springs police Sgt. Steven Dye. Dye testified Barbi was bruised and bloodied when he found her.

Jonathan Brannan has been in the courtroom all day, and we will continue to bring you the latest updates as the trial moves forward. Look for the latest on WLOX News Now and WLOX.com.

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