Appeals Court upholds conviction in Jackson Co. case

Published 6:03 pm Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The state Court of Appeals has upheld the conviction of LeBarron Emon “BeBe” Chatman, who was sentenced to life in prison for the 2002 murder of an Ocean Springs man in a dispute over about $30.

Chatman was convicted in 2004 in Jackson County in the slaying of Anthony Claudrell James, 20.

Prosecutors said Chatman went to James’ apartment in June 2002 and demanded that he repay about $30, or he would return. They said Chatman returned to James’ home with Timothy Lee McGillivray and Michael Burbage, and they opened a trunk with a loaded shotgun.

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Chatman pulled the shotgun and fired three times at the apartment building, hitting James, who was near a window after running into his home, prosecutors said.

McGillivray and Burbage pleaded guilty to manslaughter and each was sentenced to 17 years in prison with 10 years suspended.

On appeal, Chatman had argued prosecutors didn’t prove he was guilty.

“Although Chatman claimed that he did not intend to shoot anyone, he did shoot into a home where people were present, which is a textbook example of depraved heart murder,” Appeals Judge Leslie D. King wrote Tuesday for the court.