The Mississippi Supreme Court has agreed to review the convictions of two Greenwood men found guilty in connection with a fatal drive-by shooting near Itta Bena in 2015.
The incident resulted in the death of D’Landis Love and serious injuries to three other men.
The state’s Court of Appeals upheld the convictions of Sedrick Buchanan and Armand Jones late last year, but the Supreme Court announced Friday that it will consider the appeals filed on behalf of both men.
The case is complicated by the subsequent shooting death of a witness and videos submitted as evidence following his death.
After a four-day trial in 2017 in Leflore County Circuit Court, a jury found Armand Jones guilty of first-degree murder and three counts of attempted first-degree murder in the 2015 shooting. He was sentenced to life in prison plus three terms of 30 years to be served consecutively. The same jury convicted Sedrick Buchanan of three counts of aggravated assault, and he was sentenced to three consecutive 20-year terms in prison.
Two other men were tried along with Jones and Buchanan. One, Michael Holland, was found guilty of second-degree murder and three counts of attempted first-degree murder. He appealed the conviction, but it was affirmed by the appeals court last year. Holland was sentenced to 40 years for second-degree murder and three consecutive 30-year terms for his other convictions.
The appellate court, however, in a separate decision, ordered a new trial for James A. McClung Jr., who had been sentenced to 60 years in prison, because of video testimony admitted as evidence in the circuit court trial.
A fifth man, Javarious Keys, had told a Leflore County sheriff’s investigator that he drove a vehicle involved in the 2015 shooting. In the video recording of his statement, Keys implicated the others.
However, Keys was shot to death before he could testify. McClung did not appear in a security video of men in the area of the shooting, a parking lot in Greenwood. Buchanan was pictured, and Jones was in jail. An investigator testified in a pre-trial hearing that Holland was seen following Keys in the parking lot.
The appellate court, which was not considering Holland’s case, said Keys’ videoed testimony should not have applied to McClung but was admissible for Jones and Buchanan.