Teenager pleads guilty to rape

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A teenager pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual battery and one count of statutory rape in Neshoba County Circuit Court last week.

The next couple of months are going to be busy for District Attorney Steven Kilgore as they try to catch up due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Court actions involving Neshoba County cases included:

• Tellas Moore, 46, Philadelphia, had his parole with the Mississippi Department of Corrections revoked. He was convicted of failure to register as a sex offender and took his ankle monitor off, according to Kilgore. He was sent back to serve the remainder of his sentence;

• Edward G. Pullin, 43, was indicted for burglary of an unoccupied dwelling. He broke into a house that the owners were flipping and tools were taken, Kilgore said. Pullin pleaded guilty on Thursday. He received five-year sentence with three years to serve and two years’ probation.

 • Joshua L. Jones, 33, was sentenced on a gratification of lust charge, or fondling a minor. Kilgore said Jones is a habitual offender and a registered sex offender. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 10 years to serve day-for-day.

• Zachary Montana Jordan, 19, pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual battery and one count of statutory rape. Each charge carries a five-year sentence. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison. He will serve five years, day-per-day, and 10 years were suspended.

The COVID-19 pandemic put the courts behind, Kilgore said. “In March, it was the Neshoba County term of court and we tried three cases with three set for next week,” Kilgore said. “That’s when the state Supreme Court shut the courts down. We had juries called, witnesses subpoenaed. We were shut down until last month.”            

During a trial, there will be social distancing and everyone has to wear a mask. Kilgore said they tried some cases in Leake County last month and have a little practice at it.

There will be dual sessions of court during the months of October and November. The office will be averaging one or two cases a week (or more) in both counties.

“I haven’t counted them but it’s about 100 cases,” Kilgore said. “I have three assistant district attorneys. We divide the cases up.”

This week, Kilgore and one of his assistant district attorneys will be in Scott County trying a case while two assistant attorneys will be in Neshoba County on a case. Kilgore said having two trials going on at the same time was a first for him.

He said trials are scheduled but it’s a fluid situation and things change depending on the availability of witnesses and other factors.

There were back-to-back terms of the Neshoba County grand jury in July and August. Indictments were served. Kilgore said all were offered a plea deals and last Wednesday and Thursday was set aside for the judges to hear the pleas.

“I don’t think we did any Neshoba County pleas on Wednesday,” Kilgore said. “We had a few on Thursday.

“The problem is, the normal Neshoba County term is in November. All of these people get indicted and bond is set. The bond is returnable on the first Monday in November. So, the defendants didn’t necessarily know to be there. And if the defense attorneys can’t find them in time, they weren’t in court. And there were a lot of people who were not in court, for whatever reason. We’ll have to wait until their bonds are returnable.”

Kilgore said there were several pleas done from other counties and revocations for the Department of Corrections or Drug Court.


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