Man sentenced to life in prison for killing 2 Mississippi police officers in shootout

Published 1:46 pm Wednesday, November 3, 2021

The man charged with the shooting deaths of two Brookhaven police officers in 2018 pleaded guilty to first-degree murder Wednesday morning.

Marquis Aaron Flowers, 28, was arrested and charged with two counts of capital murder after the 2018 shootings of Brookhaven Police Department Cpl. Zach Moak and Officer James White. The charges were enhanced by possession of a weapon by a convicted felon.

District Attorney Dee Bates had said he would pursue the death penalty at trial, which was scheduled to begin in Pike County next week, after picking a jury from candidates in Lafayette County beginning Monday, Nov. 8.

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In Lincoln County Circuit Court Wednesday, Flowers pleaded to the two lesser charges of first-degree murder, enhanced by possession of the weapon. Bates said the State would accept the pleas, recommending a sentence of life for each of the murder counts, to be served concurrently. Ten years were recommended for the weapon count. The life sentences were mandated by statute if the pleas were accepted.

Moak and White were killed at a residence on North Sixth Street in Brookhaven just before dawn on Sept. 29, 2018. Flowers was arrested at the home when law enforcement found him with gunshot wounds after the officers were killed in an apparent shootout while responding to a call of “shots fired” prior to 5 a.m. that day. BPD Chief Kenneth Collins said at the time that Moak had exchanged gunfire with a suspect while trying to pull an injured White to safety.

After Flowers entered his pleas, members of the officers’ families addressed the court in emotional impact statements, asking for the maximum sentences to be imposed. The brother of the defendant was granted a statement as well, asking for whatever leniency was in the court’s power to grant.

Flowers also made an emotion-filled statement, saying he asked God daily for forgiveness for what he had done and asked the families to forgive him, as well.

Special Judge Richard “Dickie” McKenzie accepted the pleas from the defendant and the sentencing recommendations of the State. The judge sentenced Flowers to two life sentences for the murder counts, 10 years for the weapon charge, and a fine of $10,000 plus cost of court. Flowers was committed back to the custody of the Copiah County Sheriff’s Office until he could be transferred to the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections at the State Penitentiary at Parchman.