Former mayor sentenced to 63 months, begins sentence Feb. 25

Published 7:02 pm Friday, January 25, 2008

The former Winstonville mayor who was convicted of stealing more than $1.3 million in federal grants that were earmarked for construction of a chemical plant must report to prison Feb. 25.

Former Mayor Milton Tutwiler was sentenced to 63 months in a federal prison by U.S. District Judge Glen H. Davidson on Wednesday in Aberdeen.

Tutwiler was found guilty on May 25, 2007, for the disappearance of $1,311,337 in Mid-Delta Empowerment Zone Alliance funds originally slated to construct a building for Mound Bayou Chemical Company.

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The plant was to be located on land donated to the town of Winstonville, outside of Mound Bayou.

Kenneth Blockett, business partner of the former mayor who was also convicted on May 25 of conspiracy, misapplication of federal grant money and filing false documents, was sentenced to 51 months in a federal prison. Blockett was also ordered to voluntarily surrender to prison Feb. 25. Both men will be subject to three years of supervised released.

Both also were ordered by Davidson to pay joint restitution in the amount of $556,715. Tutwiler handed in his resignation as mayor to the Winstonville Board of Aldermen on Sept. 7. Henry Perkins Jr. was elected into the office on Oct. 23.

Assistant U.S. Attorney John Marshall Alexander said Tutwiler was ordered to voluntarily surrender to the Federal Bureau of Prisons. It’s not yet clear where Tutwiler will serve his sentence.

Davidson recommended that Tutwiler, who recently underwent heart surgery, begin his incarceration in a medical center for federal prisoners.

The Bureau of Prisons tries to accommodate a judge’s recommendation. The agency also considers several factors when placing an inmate, including needs for substance abuse treatment, age, education, the severity of the offense and bed availability.

Also, the prison system tries to put inmates in a facility within 500 miles of home.