Appeals continue in Leflore murder case

Published 2:26 pm Wednesday, June 30, 2010

C.D. Pickle Jr.’s appeals have been making the circles of the Mississippi court system for more than 30 years.

He’s back with another one. The case is among those the state Court of Appeals will consider during its July-August term.

Pickle, 16 at the time, was arrested in November 1974 for the capital murder of Mary Elizabeth Harthcock while committing the crime of rape. He was convicted and sentenced to death. He won a new trial in 1977, was convicted again and sentence to life in prison. Pickle never appealed the conviction.

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Since 1978, Pickle has filed motions for out-of-time appeals four times. Judges have denied all four, the most recent in 2009. The judges have ruled Pickle gave up his right to appeal.

Pickle filed a post-conviction petition in 2004. In rejecting Pickle’s claim in 2006, the Appeals Court said such petitions must be within three years of conviction. The Appeals Court said Pickle waited more than 25 years.

Among other cases the Appeals Court will consider during the July-August term are:

— Carl Edward Rayford’s appeal of his 2005 conviction in the shooting death of a co-worker. Rayford was sentenced in Harrison County to life in prison for fatally shooting Rodney Terrell at Rayford’s apartment in 2002. Prosecutors said Terrell was shot when he showed up at Rayford’s home and asked for a ride to work.

— Jeffrey Dale Beecham’s appeal of his 2008 conviction in DeSoto County of being intoxicated when he was involved in a fatal wreck. Beecham was sentenced to 25 years after being found responsible for a 2007 accident in front of Horn Lake High School in which 77-year-old Freda Lovelace was killed. Prosecutors said Beecham had a blood-alcohol content more than three times the legal limit of 0.08 percent and was speeding at the time of the accident.

— Larry Minter’s appeal of his life sentence for the 2006 shooting deaths of two people at a Gulfport home. Larry Minter was convicted of two counts of capital murder in 2008 in Harrison County. Prosecutors said Minter was the gunman in the shootings of Harold “Bucky” Levron and Christine Suber. They were found dead after a burglary at Levron’s home.

— Matthew Nash’s appeal of his 2009 conviction in Warren County for his role in the shooting death of Justin Maurice Harris. Nash was sentenced to life in prison. Prosecutors said Nash did not carry or fire a weapon but was willing participant in the 2007 revenge slaying. Prosecutors said Harris was shot to death after returning home from a downtown nightclub. They said an argument over a woman apparently had taken place at the bar.