HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - A fourth person has pleaded guilty in a 2016 shooting at a Pass Christian Mardi Gras parade.
Donald Dedeaux pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact to aggravated assault in Harrison County Friday morning. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison, with 10 of those years suspended, leaving five to serve. Dedeaux, 27, was taken into custody immediately after the sentencing. Officials say because of his cooperation with authorities and his lack of criminal history, he will be allowed to serve the final three years of his sentence on house arrest.
Carlos Bates, 29, and Isaiah Major III, 43, were killed and three others were injured when gunfire erupted in a busy intersection after the St. Paul Carnival Association parade on Feb. 7, 2016.
Pass Christian Police Chief Tim Hendricks said on Friday an update on the ongoing investigation and prosecution from the shooting, saying the department has taken an aggressive approach over the last year to garner information about motives, evidences and suspects. Authorities say all four suspects charged in the shooting have now been convicted.
"These results in no small part illustrate the dedication and commitment of the Pass Christian Police Department, the community at large and other coast law enforcement agencies to see this case to its conclusion," said Chief Tim Hendricks. "This was a heinous crime at a public event that put many in harm's way. The public's expectation on law enforcement demands our pledge to the duty and oath of office. As with any case, we will continue to keep the victims and their families in our hearts and prayers. We hope that by bringing these individuals to justice it may give some comfort and closure to all those affected by this horrific crime."
Pass Christian Mayor Chip McDermott also offered his support of the police department's dedication, saying he wishes to personally commend the police chief and all officers that participated in this complex investigation and prosecution.
Malcolm Dedeaux, 24, was sentenced to 40 years to serve on two counts of Manslaughter for his role as instigator of the gun battle. During Malcolm's plea hearing, Malcolm admitted to an ongoing feud with Charles Johnson.
"Malcolm Dedeaux, Jermaine Ratcliff, and Jessie Lee Williams Jr., were all involved in the ongoing feud with Charles Johnson, all are convicted felons, and all of them brought weapons to the Pass Parade and walked down Davis Avenue where a confrontation with Johnson took place," said Chief ADA Crosby Parker, who prosecuted the case with ADA Chris Carter. "At the intersection of Davis Avenue and Ladnier Street, Malcolm Dedeaux confronted Charles Johnson about their previous feud. During the confrontation, an eyewitness stated it was Malcolm Dedeaux who pulled his weapon first that led to a gun battle involving multiple people."
Dedeaux's attorney stated that Donald Dedeaux was not involved in the ongoing feud with Johnson, had no previous criminal history, met with law enforcement multiple times in the days following the shooting and later turned over his firearm. In court, Donald stated that once the gunfire began from both sides of the street, he was in fear and also fired his weapon. His attorney stated that the two individuals killed were in the crowd behind Donald and no evidence connected him to their shootings. However, Donald confessed that after the shooting he assisted his co-defendants, who hid their weapons and he did not tell the police.
Dedeaux is the fourth suspect to plead guilty in the case. Jermaine Ratcliff pleaded guilty to two counts of accessory after the fact in July. Ratcliff is still awaiting sentencing.
Jessie Lee Williams Jr. pleaded guilty to two counts of manslaughter Nov. 22. He will serve every day of his 20-year sentence because he was indicted as a habitual offender.