Mississippi man pleads not guilty in shooting, killing of sheriff’s deputy

Published 6:27 am Wednesday, September 15, 2021

A Mississippi man pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges of capital murder and other felony counts in the February slaying of a sheriff’s deputy.

Joseph Michael Rohrbacker, 30, stood in the Hancock County Circuit courtroom and pleaded not guilty to shooting the 57-year-old Lt. Michael Boutte.

Prosecutors say Boutte was shot while responding to a 911 call placed from Rohrbacker’s home on Feb. 1. A second deputy shot and injured Rohrbacker.

An arraignment hearing for Rohrbacker has been scheduled for Monday.

If convicted of capital murder, Rohrbacker faces a possible death sentence or life in prison without parole. Defense attorney Philip Whitman previously told a judge Rohrbacker suffers from mental illness.