By Russell Hood The Webster Progress-Times
WALTHALL — A man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for crimes committed at the Webster County Jail. Earnest Dee Willhite, 31, of 594 Savannah Lake Road pleaded guilty July 31 to grand larceny and tampering with evidence, according to Webster County Circuit Court records.
Circuit Judge Joey Loper sentenced him to serve 10 years with the Mississippi Department of Corrections for grand larceny and two years for the tampering charge, which will run at the same time. Willhite, who was indicted June 18 and arraigned July 16, must also pay all court costs and assessments.
Willhite has previous felony convictions for building burglary in Webster County (2002) and felony fleeing law enforcement in a motor vehicle in Oktibbeha County (2008), and was indicted as a habitual offender. However, Loper dismissed that portion of the indictment.
The indictment states that on March 24, Willhite stole more than $500, “being the personal property of the Webster County Sheriff’s Department and/or Dontreze Young,” from the evidence locker at the county jail in Eupora.
Also on that date, according to the indictment, Willhite “destroyed, mutilated, concealed, removed or altered physical evidence: a quantity of suspected cocaine and/or marijuana, being evidence in the possession of cocaine and marijuana case against … Young, with intent to impair its use, verity or availability in the pending or prospective official proceeding against Young.”
Willhite was in the county jail at the time on a charge of trespassing, and remains there. Young, 31, was arrested by the sheriff’s office on March 17 on charges of possession of marijuana with intent, possession of a controlled substance and possession of cocaine with intent. He has not been indicted.
Arraignments Loper arraigned three other people July 16 on felony indictments and all entered pleas of not guilty, with bonds set at $5,000 each. Those arraigned and their charges are: • Marion L. Hill, 32: possession of cocaine (on Dec. 2 on Hall Road). • Daniel Mitchell, 18: aggravated assault. He is charged with shooting at Daniel Koelling on Feb. 5. His case was continued until further order of the court. • Haley Jonathan Simmons, 20: possession of more than 30 grams but less than 20 grams of marijuana. In other court action, Loper issued a bench warrant July 26 for Alicia Morris Schick, who was indicted for 12 counts of uttering forgery. Loper ordered the sheriff’s office to arrest Schick, 30, and hold her for the district attorney’s office.