MOSS POINT, MS (WLOX) - Moss Point residents say they are hoping the city can move forward now that the domestic violence charges against Mayor Mario King and his wife have been dismissed.
King and his wife Natasha appeared side-by-side in the Jackson County Justice Court Thursday afternoon. Each faced a charge of domestic violence after a physical altercation that took place at their home on Oct. 19th. Those charges were filed by the county against each of the Kings after investigators saw evidence and heard reports of abuse.
In court, both defendants refused to answer questions, invoking their Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination.
State prosecutor Natalia Porsche brought in Capt. Tracy Wilson with the Jackson County Sheriff's Office, who talked about what she observed on Mario and Natasha shortly after the domestic abuse allegation back in October 2017. She said she saw bruising, marks and scratches. However, her testimony was considered hearsay since neither King nor his wife would comment on what happened.
"The witness could not testify to anything that one person said against another person. Therefore we did not have a case. Therefore we had to file a motion to dismiss and the case was dismissed," said Porsche.
After hearing the limited testimony, Judge Danny Guice III dismissed the case.
Now that the case is over, residents want the mayor to refocus his attention on making the area a better place, especially in public areas like the city's parks.
"The one by the Sue Ellen gym that one's pretty rough," said resident Brent Owens. "There's one on Second Street, down there that's pretty rough. They probably should post security guards in that place. They could turn that old Ed Mayo school over there into a park. That would be nice, a good use for that old property."
"Maybe a little couple's counseling might help," said resident Brad Owens. "But beyond that, it's their personal business."
After court Thursday, Mayor King commented, saying: "We're moving on; we're glad it's over. We're thankful for the leadership around us and we're thankful for anything that happens beyond it. We're respectful to everyone taking the opportunity to give us our privacy, and we've moved forward."
The mayor also released a written statement regarding the court's actions: