Mississippi sheriff: Man arrested in Sunday stabbing death shouldn’t have been out of jail

Published 6:43 am Tuesday, February 23, 2021

One Mississippi sheriff expressed his aggravation after a man he said should never have been out of jail was arrested for the Sunday stabbing death of a Lee County man.

Lee County Sheriff Jim Johnson said Maurice Agnew, 54, was arrested at the scene of Sunday afternoon’s fatal stabbing on County Road 2204.

Agnew is charged in the stabbing death of Randall Cowley, 57, who was found with injuries to his chin, and a stab wound in his shoulder and a stab wound in his chest.

Although a suspect was quickly arrested, Johnson said the situation is aggravating.

But investigators say the deadly incident highlights what they call a major problem with the criminal justice system.

Johnson said Agnew is no stranger to law enforcement.

Agnew was convicted of aggravated assault for slashing a man’s throat in 2018. He served two years and five months of a twenty-year sentence before being released.

“When it comes to violent offenders, that are let out here on our street because of some law that says you can have fourteen different chances and have everything you’ve done expunged, there’s no record, that’s a very dangerous society and precedent that has been set and I can’t support and don’t, and this is just another example,” Johnson told WCBI in Columbus.

The sheriff says Cowley and Agnew knew each other. Deputies believe the death happened as a result of a property dispute.

Justice Court Judge Chuck Hopkins set the bond for Agnew at one million dollars. Agnew is on probation for the 2018 felony conviction.