Miss. high court upholds conviction in Jones Co. murder case

Published 6:34 pm Friday, August 18, 2006

The Mississippi Supreme Court has upheld the murder conviction and life sentence given Kenneth J. Wilson Jr. for the 2003 killing of Lisa Williams.

The justices Thursday rejected all of Wilson’s issues on appeal, including his claim that his confessions shouldn’t have been used as evidence against him.

Wilson was convicted in Jones County in 2004.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Prosecutors said Williams was stabbed to death at her home on July 2, 2003. Prosecutors said Wilson broke in the glass door of the house, started punching Williams in the face and then stabbed her with a knife.

Wilson also was convicted of aggravated assault and sentenced to five years for wounding Williams’ son during a fight.

On appeal, Wilson argued his confessions were involuntary and that he was questioned without proper Miranda warnings.

The familiar warning is given by police. It tells suspects they have a right to remain silent and the right to have an attorney. They are told that anything they say may be used against them in court and if they can’t afford a lawyer, one will be appointed for them by the court.

According to the court record, police officers testified that Wilson began confessing to the murder of Williams as he was being led away from the house but before being handcuffed.

Officers testified Wilson continued to confess as they were placing handcuffs on him and even as he was being read his rights.

Prosecutors said Wilson’s statements were captured on a video camera mounted on an officer’s car.

Presiding Justice Kay Cobb, writing Thursday for the court, said trial judge did not err in allowing the confessions as evidence.

“The video of Wilson’s confessions clearly indicate they were made of his own free will and without inducement by the police. Wilson failed to provide any evidence of coercion, threats or promises made by specific police officers to secure his confessions,” Cobb said.