Miss. Coast man sentenced in cold case killing

Published 6:04 pm Friday, June 13, 2008

Stephen Leon Andrews has been sentenced to 20 years for the shooting death of a man whose body was wrapped in blankets before acid was poured on his face.

The victim remains unidentified.

The 30-year-old Andrews had pleaded guilty in late May to manslaughter in the June 2001 killing that authorities said was drug related. The Orange Grove-area resident was arrested in August 2004.

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Jackson County Circuit Judge Dale Harkey on Wednesday imposed the sentence, 15 years of which are to be served behind bars and five under post-release supervision. The initial charge against Andrews was capital murder, which was reduced to manslaughter.

District Attorney Tony Lawrence said the victim was found shot in the head and wrapped in blankets near Old Stage Road in Orange Grove in 2001. He said the victim was not from the area and was working on a shrimp boat.

Andrews claimed innocence during the sentencing and said he admitted guilt in hopes of reuniting with his family sooner, rather than possibly losing a risky trial.

“I spent four years in prison for something I did not do,” he said, adding he was addicted to drugs and alcohol when he was younger but was beginning to turn his life around before his 2004 arrest.