Former Lowndes supervisor appeals fraud conviction

Published 3:00 pm Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Former Lowndes County Supervisor Jim Terry has appealed his fraud conviction to the state Court of Appeals.

Terry was sentenced to 13 months in prison and removed from office in December 2007 after his conviction in Lowndes County Circuit Court for misusing a county-issued gasoline card.

He was also ordered to pay $2,227 in restitution to the county.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Terry has remained free on a $10,000 bond while his case is on appeal.

Terry’s case is among dozens the Appeals Court will consider during the January-February term.

Prosecutors said Terry was accused of fraudulently obtaining gasoline and using a county-owned vehicle for his personal activities between Jan. 1, 2004, and Dec. 31, 2005.

In a letter to The Commercial Dispatch newspaper published Nov. 14, 2005, he said a county resident asked him to help clean up downed trees after Hurricane Dennis.

Terry told the newspaper the resident offered his truck for Terry to use, but the truck was low on gas, so Terry used his fuel card to put gas in the vehicle.

Prosecutors said the transaction was videotaped by security cameras at the store and the videotape sparked allegations Terry improperly used his fuel card to provide gas for others.

State law allows supervisors to use private vehicles in “emergencies” and to pay for the fuel, but the use must be authorized by the board of supervisors, even if after the fact. Prosecutors said Terry did not obtain such approval.

Terry has contended any inconsistencies in the mileage he reported were the result of absentmindedness in activating the fuel card.

Terry was defeated for re-election in 2007.

Among other case before the Appeals Court are:

— Dewaun Osha Griffin’s appeal of his 2007 murder conviction in Leake County. Griffin was sentenced to life in prison for the shooting death of 23-year-old Daphne Michele Harper.

Prosecutors said the shooting occurred during an apparent domestic dispute at the home she once shared with Griffon in Leake County.

— Robert Stanley Rowland’s post conviction petition for a new trial.

On Feb. 16, 1979, Rowland and two other men were charged with killing two men while robbing a poker game at the Leflore County Country Club.

The three pleaded guilty in August 1979 in exchange for two life sentences each on the capital murder charges and two sentences of 24 years each on the armed robbery charges.

Inmates use post-conviction petitions to try to convince a judge that new evidence has surfaced in their case that warrants a new trial.

A trial judge ruled against Rowland in January.