Miss. Supreme Court declines to hear appeal in French Camp police chief murder

Published 5:06 pm Friday, February 22, 2008

The Mississippi Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal from Christopher Fair, who was 16 years old when he was sentenced to life in prison for the shooting death of French Camp Police Chief Anthony Lucas.

Fair was convicted in 2005 of capital murder in a trial that was moved from Choctaw County to Alcorn County due to pretrial news coverage. Prosecutors said Fair fatally shot Lucas in 2004 following a vehicle pursuit.

The Supreme Court, without comment Thursday, let stand the state Court of Appeals decision last year that upheld Fair’s conviction and sentence.

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Lucas, 32, lived in Ackerman but was the part-time police chief in French Camp. He had joined other Choctaw County law officers in the pursuit of a car that fled during a traffic stop.

Authorities said the fleeing car stopped at a house in Weir and the four people inside the car jumped out with three running inside the house and one running down the road.

Prosecutors said that as Lucas walked toward the house, Fair came out and shot the officer with a shotgun. No other officers were injured.

Authorities said Fair lived at the house where the shooting occurred.

The Appeals Court rejected Fair’s argument that his confession should have been thrown out because of his age at the time of the murder, his history of mental illness and because he was questioned in the early morning hours after having fled from police and having been through a possibly traumatic experience.

The Appeals Court said there was nothing to show Fair’s confession was coerced.

Also Thursday, the Supreme Court declined to hear appeals from:

— Chico Craft, who was convicted in 2005 in Hinds County for the killing of his girlfriend. He was sentenced to life in prison for the July 12, 2004, slaying of Taiwaneshia McElroy, 21, also of Jackson.

Prosecutors said McElroy died of a stab wound to the neck.

According to court records, police testified that Craft told authorities he killed McElroy after an argument about her wanting him to move out of the apartment they shared.

The Court of Appeals upheld Craft’s conviction last year.

— Michael James McDonald, who was convicted in 2006 in Harrison County for unlawfully touching a juvenile during a beach outing.

McDonald was sentenced to 15 years in prison on each of two counts of touching a child for lustful purposes. The judge ordered the sentences to be served at the same time.

According to court documents, McDonald had claimed he was merely applying suntan lotion to the young acquaintance on May 22, 2004.

The victim testified that McDonald touched her between the legs and rubbed his hands under both her swimsuit top and bottom. Witnesses at the scene saw McDonald place his hands under the victim’s swimsuit and rub her in inappropriate places, according to the court record.

The Appeals Court upheld McDonald’s conviction last year.