Smith found guilty of escape after cutting off ankle bracelet in 2014
Published 7:00 am Saturday, July 8, 2017
A Pearl River County man was found guilty of escape by a jury of his peers after court proceedings were held in County Court this week.
The trial for Rodney Wayne Smith started Wednesday with the selection of the jury. During that process, county residents called for jury duty Wednesday morning were told that Smith did not deny he cut the bracelet from his ankle, but were asked to decide whether the act entailed breaking the law or simply breaking a rule.
Fifteenth District Attorney Hal Kittrell said his prosecution team, led by Assistant District Attorney Clay Cranford, was able to prove it was a law that was broken, leading to Smith’s guilty verdict.
Smith, who was 39 at the time of his attempt to escape, was on parole with the Mississippi Department of Corrections, according to previous coverage. According to his indictment, he escaped and was on the run between the dates of Dec. 22, 2014 and January 13, 2015. He was serving house arrest for violation of the RICO Act, the indictment states. Previous coverage states the conviction was drug related.
Kittrell said his prosecution asked the court to sentence Smith as a habitual offender due to his previous convictions in 1996 for receiving stolen property, in 2005 for grand larceny and manufacturing a controlled substance and for the 2014 conviction that led to his house arrest.
Kittrell said Smith was sentenced to five years for the guilty verdict established on Thursday, of which he should have to serve day for day due to his status as a habitual offender.