Man sentenced in Mississippi Waffle House murder

Published 9:26 pm Thursday, February 1, 2024

A Brookhaven man has pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the 2021 shooting death of a woman at Waffle House.

Willie Ray Walker III, 34, entered a plea to avoid trial, according to District Attorney Brendon Adams. The shooting stemmed from an incident that occurred at the Waffle House on Brookway Boulevard Nov. 1, 2021, and resulted in the death of Myrtessia Catchings.

Adams recommended the maximum penalty of life imprisonment, due to the nature of the charges.

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“This is another example of senseless gun violence that cost someone their life,” Adams said in Lincoln County Circuit Court Wednesday. “We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners and the public to make our community a safer place.”

Judge David H. Strong Jr. sentenced Walker to life in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, a $3,000 fine, and full restitution to the family of the victim.

In May 2023, a woman charged with accessory after the fact, Lindsay Marie Schmidt, was found guilty and sentenced by Judge Strong to 15 years in prison, with 12 years suspended and 5 years of post-release supervision. She was also fined $2,200.

Adams and Assistant DA Rodney Tidwell have been working closely with law enforcement agencies involved in the investigation, as well as witnesses and the victim’s family.

“I want to the thank the Brookhaven Police Department, Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department, and various members of the Mississippi Forensics Laboratory for all their hard work and dedication in seeing the case resolved,” said Adams. “My hope is that this will bring closure to the family and some comfort to those who have suffered.”