Willis enters plea for the kidnapping and burning of girlfriend

Published 5:40 pm Tuesday, May 29, 2018

According to a press release by the 15th Circuit Court District Attorney’s office, 42-year-old Jerry Glenn Willis from Pearl River County pleaded guilty to three criminal offenses on Tuesday.

According to the release, he “pled guilty to the attempted murder, kidnapping and taking away a motor vehicle of Stacey Franks as a habitual offender.”

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Circuit Court Judge Anthony Mozingo sentenced him to two life sentences and five years. According to the release, he will be serving his sentence day to day and will not have the option of parole or early release. This sentence was established due to Willis’ status as a habitual offender, the release states.

Willis’ actions that led to this case occurred on November 8, 2017 when Poplarville Police officers and deputies with the Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department found Stacey Franks at the intersection of Highway 11 North and Spring Hill Road suffering from severe burns. She was found partially clothed and was immediately transported to the hospital and stabilized before being taken to Jackson to be admitted to the burn unit.  Although she was severely injured, she was able to tell law enforcement officers what had happened. She said her ex-boyfriend, Willis, kidnapped her, held her hostage and poured gasoline on her before setting her on fire, the release states. According to the release, Franks suffered 3rd degree burns on about 40 percent of her body.

Mississippi Bureau of Investigation agents took over the investigation, the release states. State Police in Monroe County, Ark., arrested Willis two days after the incident. According to previous coverage, he was captured while burning the vehicle he stole from Franks.

“The victim is still recovering from this heinous crime and will require further medical treatment. She has truly been permanently injured by this man. It is because of the immediate action by law enforcement in this case that Jerry Glenn Willis will spend the rest of his life in prison. I would like to commend the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation, the Poplarville Police Department, the Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department, the Arkansas State Police, the Monroe County, Arkansas Sheriff’s Department, the Brinkley, Arkansas Police Department and the prosecution in this case led by Assistant District Attorney Clay Cranford, for their hard work that led this defendant to be brought to justice quickly,” District Attorney Haldon J. Kittrell said in the release.