Lett Pleads Guilty In Shipyard Shootings, Claims Mental Illness - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Lett Pleads Guilty In Shipyard Shootings, Claims Mental Illness

With his family and the families of Donald Eddins and Ben Gaffney crying in the courtroom, Alexander Lett said he didn't plan to kill the two supervisors when he got work. But he said when he saw the men, his intentions changed.

Judge Dale Harkey asked, "Without legal defense? That means you don't have, it was not necessarily self defense or anything of that nature?"

"Yes sir," the 42-year old Moss Point man replied.

Lett's attorney won't say why his client opened fire on the men. But Calvin Taylor did say a psychiatric exam explains a lot.

"But I think Alex now understands that his perception of what was happening was not actually the fact," Taylor said.

What was his perception?

"Well, we'll address that on Friday and you'll see what I've come to understand is his perception was not what actually was taking place," Taylor said.

Lett will be sentenced Friday. The defense wants the judge to consider the psychiatrist's report.

"He's mentally ill. He's not incompetent, but he is mentally ill and we want the judge to understand what would cause him to take gun to the shipyard and shoot two individuals," Taylor said.

But District Attorney Tony Lawrence doesn't buy the mental illness defense. Lawrence said a letter Lett wrote three days before the shootings clearly spells out Lett's intentions.

"He was upset that he wasn't making as much money as some of the other individuals. So when you get right down to it, it's about what he was making at Northrop Grumman," Lawrence said.

Lawrence said Lett has anger management issues that boiled over.

"And to sit there and say some mental illness caused this is just wrong, especially when he leaves a letter that he typed three days before hand telling why he was going to do it."

Lett faces a life sentence for murder, plus 20 years for the aggravated assault charge. His family had no comment after court Monday. Neither did the families of Donald Eddins and Ben Gaffney.

byMarcia Hill

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