BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - A former district attorney who served seven terms in South Mississippi has died.
Cono Caranna passed away Thursday night after battling health issues for years, said his family. He was 77.
Caranna served as district attorney for Harrison, Hancock and Stone counties for 26 years. He retired in 2012.
In a statement, current District Attorney Joel Smith said: “Cono was a great mentor and friend to me and to many others in our community. He was the epitome of someone who dedicated their life to serving his community and country. He was a decorated war veteran, spent a decade as Biloxi City Attorney and then served as our District Attorney for seven terms and nearly three decades.”
In an interview with WLOX before his retirement in 2012, Caranna said he was proud of several “major innovations and minor adjustments” during his years in office that have made the justice system better.
Some of the things Caranna said he took great pride in having a hand in included improved rights and benefits for victims; the formation of sexual assault investigative teams; better coordination among medical, legal, social work, law enforcement, and prosecution professionals; establishment of a drug court; the passage of legislation for life without parole; and the development of community outreach to support needed advances.
DA Smith agrees, recognizing Caranna as a leader who helped usher in numerous innovations.
“His legacy of service and his voice for victims and for public safety will echo in our community for years to come,” said Smith. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family in their time of loss.”
Caranna was the father of Coast hotel developer Cono Caranna III, who is part of the development team who helped bring the White House Hotel, Margaritaville, Centennial Plaza, the Markham Building, and Hotel Legends to the Coast.
The former district attorney was married to Chancery Court Judge Margaret Alfonso.
According to his family, Caranna died as a result of ongoing complications he had following a surgery in May 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio.
Funeral arrangements are pending.