August 8, 2020

Mississippi man convicted of 8 murders in violent shooting spree

A Mississippi jury has convicted a man in the 2017 shooting murders of eight people, including some of his own relatives and a deputy sheriff who responded to a domestic disturbance call.

Willie Cory Godbolt, 37, was convicted Tuesday afternoon after jurors heard nine days of testimony and a partial day of closing arguments, WLBT-TV reported.

The trial enters a second phase in which jurors will decide whether to impose the death penalty for the capital murder convictions. If they cannot reach unanimous agreement on that, the judge will sentence Godbolt to life in prison.

Godbolt spoke to the jury during closing arguments, saying he expected to be killed himself on the night of the slayings.

Godbolt previously 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.

According to testimony during the trial, Godbolt went to his in-laws’ home on May 27, 2017, and argued with his estranged wife about their children. Lincoln County deputy sheriff William Durr, Barbara Mitchell, Toccara May and Brenda May were shot to death at that home that night.

Two more people — 18-year-old Jordan Blackwell and 11-year-old Austin Edwards — were killed at a second home in the early hours of May 28, 2017.

Ferral Burage and Sheila Burage, a married couple, were shot to death at a third home a few hours later. Godbolt was arrested near a business as he walked from the Burages’ house, investigators said.

Jurors on Sunday were shown video of Godbolt in the hours after he was accused of killing the eight people, the Daily Leader reported. In one of the videos, Godbolt said: “I’m completely sorry and heartbroken about that deputy.”

Lincoln County sheriff’s Deputy Chuck Francis testified that Godbolt spoke to him about Durr shortly after Godbolt’s arrest, the Daily Leader reported.

“If the deputy had family, let them know I’m sorry. He was not part of my plan,” Francis recalled Godbolt telling him.
Jurors also saw cellphone video of Godbolt sitting in handcuffs, bleeding from a gunshot wound to his right arm.