Court affirms verdicts for father, son convicted of killing Mississippi gun shop owner and his son over $25

Published 4:18 pm Wednesday, May 19, 2021

A father and son convicted of killing a Mississippi gun shop owner and his son in a dispute over $25 will remain behind bars.

On Tuesday, the Mississippi Court of Appeals upheld the convictions of Michael McCool, 31, and his father Audy McCool, 53.

Michael McCool was convicted of two counts of second-degree murder and is currently serving two consecutive 40-year sentences at South Mississippi Correctional Institute in Leakesville.

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Audy McCool was convicted of accessory after the fact and is currently serving 14 years of a 20-year sentence at East Mississippi Correctional Facility in Meridian.

In 2019, a jury found the father and son were found guilty in the 2016 shooting deaths of Pearl River County gun shop owner Jason McLemore, 43, and his 17-year-old son Jacob.

It took about a week of testimony and nearly a day of deliberation for the jury to find both McCools guilty of their respective charges.

The trial was based on a case that began on Jan. 23, 2016. That day, the defendants entered a gun store previously operating on Henleyfield McNeill Road to dispute a $25 fee for repairs to a gun that Michael McCool had dropped off a week prior.

When Jason McLemore, who owned the store, arrived with his son, Jacob, to speak with Michael and Audy, because they had become belligerent with the owner’s wife, a verbal altercation ensued between the four men. That verbal altercation eventually became physical, leading to five shots being fired from Michael’s gun that resulted in the deaths of 17-year-old Jacob McLemore and his father, 44-year-old Jason. Only one bullet was fired from Jason’s gun, and Jacob’s gun was said to be fully loaded, according to testimony during the trial.

Testimony during the court proceedings showed that Michael feigned ignorance to the charge upon arriving to the store that day, even though Jason’s wife testified during the trial that she overheard her husband tell Michael the day prior there would be a fee to collect the gun since parts had already been ordered.

Inside one of the McCool’s wallet the day of the incident was $25, according to court testimony.

The appeals court affirmed the jury’s verdict and the judge’s sentence in the case.

Audy David McCool, who was 67 at the time of his sentencing in 2019, will have to serve his conviction of 20 years with 14 to serve and the remaining six to be under post release supervision.

His son, Michael Audy McCool, 32 at the time of his sentencing, will have to serve his sentence of 40 years each for two counts of second-degree murder for the shooting deaths of both McLemores. Both sentences will be served consecutively, equating to an 80 year sentence.