St. Dominic challenge to Madison Co. hospital before Miss. appeals court

Published 11:10 pm Saturday, December 30, 2006

The state Court of Appeals will hear arguments Jan. 23 in St. Dominic Health Systems’ challenge to a Florida company’s winning approval to build a new hospital in Madison County.

In October 2005, State Health Officer Dr. Brian Amy approved the relocation of Madison County Medical Center from Mississippi 16 East to near the Nissan plant along Interstate 55.

Health Management Associates of Naples, Fla., planned a $42 million facility across from the Nissan auto plant. HMA has a 40-year lease with the county to operate the Madison County Medical Center.

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St. Dominic Health Systems, which owns St. Dominic/Jackson Memorial Hospital, appealed the decision to Hinds County Chancery Court. St. Dominic contended that HMA should not be the sole medical provider in Madison County.

Chancellor William Singletary ruled for HMA this past February. St. Dominic appealed again.

HMA officials plan a 67-bed hospital with room for possible expansion. They said construction would take 17 to 24 months after ground is broken.

In September 2005, the Mississippi Supreme Court upheld Amy’s denial of St. Dominic’s plans for a $35 million acute-care hospital on the grounds of St. Catherine’s Village in Madison. That proposal was opposed by HMA.

The hospital dispute is among dozens of cases the Court of Appeals will hear during the January-March term. Some cases will be decided using attorneys’ briefs rather than oral arguments.

Also before the Appeals Court:

— An appeal from the former owners of Salts Funeral Home in Booneville of their 10-year prison terms each for embezzlement.

Michael I. Salts and Alice Marie Salts were convicted in 2005 in Lee County jury of three counts each of felony embezzlement and one count each of misdemeanor embezzlement.

Prosecutors said they pocketed premiums given to them to be delivered to a burial insurance company. According to records, the last time the burial insurance company received premiums from the Salts’ was 1994. However, they continued to accept premiums from policyholders until 2002, prosecutors said.

— Mary Scarborough’s appeal of her life sentence for her role in the killing of a retired Air Force instructor. Scarborough, of Saucier, was convicted of capital murder in 2005 in Jackson County.

Scarborough was one of four people arrested in the beating death of Dorian Johnson on Dec. 30, 2002.

Johnson, of Escatawpa, was a retired Keesler Air Force Base instructor who was paralyzed on his right side because of a stroke. Johnson’s body was found on a logging trail off Mississippi 57 in Vancleave.

Scarborough claimed she was scared of Johnson because of alleged unwanted sexual advances. Scarborough claimed Johnson had been stalking her. Scarborough said she only wanted to scare Johnson into leaving her alone and enlisted the others to help her.

— James Preston Bailey’s appeal of his 2005 murder conviction and life sentence without parole in Harrison County in the stabbing death of a man whose skeletal remains were found in the backyard of a Gulfport home.

Kenneth Kirtland, reported missing in 2002 after his wife left him at Bailey’s home, was found 13 months later in October 2003.

Bailey was in prison, serving four years for cultivating marijuana when Kirtland’s remains were found.

Bailey’s girlfriend testified at the trial that she saw Bailey stab Kirtland twice.

— Daryl Morris’ appeal of his life sentence in the 2004 shooting death of Anthony Deon Nash outside a grocery store in Leland.

Morris was convicted of murder in 2005 in Washington County.

Prosecutors said the shooting was the result of an ongoing feud between two families.

According to testimony, Nash and Morris got into a fight in May 2004. During the fight, Morris’ uncle, Gregory Jackson, was shot by Nash.

Prosecutors said Nash was charged with aggravated assault in the shooting of Jackson and was out on bond at the time he was shot.

Testimony at the trial, according to court records, was that witnesses saw Morris run down a street with a gun in his hand heading toward the store. Witnesses said they heard gunshots and then saw Nash run and fall and Morris shoot him.

— James Johnson’s appeal of his capital murder conviction and life without parole sentence in the slaying of a convenience store worker during in an apparent robbery.

Johnson was convicted in 2005 in Madison County.

Prosecutors said Manav Virmani was shot twice at close range at Mac’s Convenience Store on July 2, 2001. Virmani was visiting from India and helping out at the store.