Three plead guilty to helping accused killer of Mississippi police officer
Published 1:51 pm Tuesday, May 19, 2020
Three men pleaded guilty Tuesday for their roles in helping the man who is charged with capital murder in the 2019 shooting death of a Mississippi police officer.
Joshua Michael Kovach, 22, and Wanya Toquest Atkinson, 21, both pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact to capital murder, and Dalenetez Latavian Brice, 21, pleaded guilty to a charge of hindering prosecution, the Sun Herald reported.
Biloxi police officer Robert “Mack” McKeithen, 57, was shot to death in an ambush-style attack outside a police station May 5, 2019. He had been an officer for more than 20 years.
Darian Atkinson, now 20, is awaiting trial on a capital murder charge, and his attorneys said this month they will ask prosecutors not to seek the death penalty. Darian and Wanya Atkinson are brothers.
Brice told Circuit Judge Christopher Schmidt he lied to investigators when they asked if he knew Darian Atkinson or had been around him after McKeithen was killed.
Kovach and Wanya Atkinson said they helped the Darian Atkinson with a change of clothes.
All three men met with Darian Atkinson at his mother’s home in Biloxi after the shooting.
Investigators have said Darian Atkinson walked 8 miles (13 kilometers) from a home in Gulfport to the Biloxi Police Department with the goal of killing a police officer.
Darian Atkinson was taken into custody after a nearly 24-hour manhunt. He was captured in Wiggins after an off-duty Biloxi police officer spotted him walking down a road and called local authorities.
Another of his brothers, Davian Atkinson, is facing prosecution on a charge of accessory after the fact to capital murder. Investigators say he has admitted he gave his brother a ride to Wiggins after the killing and allowed him to use his cellphone.
Another man charged as an accessory, Andrew Anderson Sullivan, 19, of Gulfport, waived a grand jury investigation last year and pleaded guilty to a bill of information charging him as an accessory.
All sentencings are being postponed until after the capital murder charge is resolved against Darian Atkinson.
Accessory after the fact to capital murder carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and $10,000 in fines.