Grand jury issues reports

By Russell Hood The Webster Progress-Times

Webster County grand jurors empaneled earlier this month have submitted a report of their investigations and inspections.

The grand jury was empaneled Jan. 14 on the opening day of the January term of Webster County Circuit Court.

The jurors, according to their report provided by the circuit clerk’s office, examined seven cases and questioned four witnesses. Afterwards in open court, they returned three true bills on three indictments. One matter was remanded to Webster County Justice Court and three matters were continued.

Inspections The grand jury issued these findings based upon its inspection of county buildings (edited for clarity): • Jail: “We find the jail sufficient for the safekeeping of a limited number of prisoners. The light is not working in the foyer, the deputies’ office and the kitchen. The exit sign does not work in the jail wing. The hallway light to the women’s cell is not working.” • Health Department: “Water-damaged ceiling tiles and light fixtures throughout the building need to be repaired. Missing floor tiles in the reception area need to be replace. There is loose countertop trip. The roof leaks in the medical exam room and the clerical office. The exit sign does not work. The interior needs to be repainted. Mold is throughout the building.” • County Office Building: “The exit light at the main entrance door does not come on unless there is a power failure. Ceiling tiles and floor tiles in multiple offices need to be repaired or replaced. Light covers and switches are needed in several offices, and a blank cover is needed over old electrical outlets.

“The air vent in the (Justice Court) clerk’s office needs to be repaired or replaced. The phone line in the office across from the vault needs to be reworked, rerun or hidden. The bathroom has no hot water. The fire extinguishers need to be checked.”

The report does not include findings about the courthouse in Walthall, which was gutted by a fire on Jan. 17. Since the fire, court sessions have been held either in the Justice Court courtroom in the Webster County Office Building in Eupora or at the Choctaw County Courthouse in Ackerman.

Circuit Judge Clarence E. Morgan III presided during the January court term. Jason Doggett is serving as grand jury foreman. The grand jury will be recalled in May and a new grand jury is empaneled June 17.