Trial begins for Mississippi man charged in killing of 8

February 16, 2020 Off By The Wall of Law

MAGNOLIA, Miss. — Opening arguments began Saturday in the death penalty trial of a man accused of killing eight people in Mississippi in May 2017.

The killings began after Willie Cory Godbolt entered his in-laws’ home in Bogue Chitto and got into an argument with his estranged wife and her family over the couple’s two children, witness Vincent Mitchell testified in a Pike County courtroom, according to The Daily Leader. Mitchell said Godbolt fatally shot a responding deputy and then killed Godbolt’s mother-in-law and two other people.

Godbolt then went to two other homes in south Mississippi’s Lincoln County, killing two of his teenage cousins and a husband and wife, investigators said.

After being captured, Godbolt, now 37, said “I’m sorry” while a reporter was recording him.

Godbolt’s attorney Katherine Poor told the jurors that her client was trying to protect his family and believed his daughter had been inappropriately touched by a family member at the in-laws’ home.

“Cory just snapped,” Poor said. “Cory couldn’t see the breakup of his family. He couldn’t fail to protect his children. In that moment in a haze of fear at the breakup of his family, Cory pulled his gun out.”

Godbolt has pleaded not guilty to four counts of capital murder, four counts of murder, one count of attempted murder, two counts of kidnapping and one count of armed robbery. He has remained in custody since his arrest on May 28, 2017, hours after the shootings.

Because of pretrial publicity in south Mississippi, jury selection was done in north Mississippi’s DeSoto County, 285 miles (459 kilometres) north of Lincoln County. The 12 jurors and three alternates were selected Friday. They are hearing the case in Magnolia, which is near Lincoln County.

The trial was scheduled to continue on Sunday.

The Associated Press

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