Judge appointed for Jackson County deputy's assault trial

mbbaker@sunherald.comFebruary 6, 2013 

Jackson County Sheriff Mike Byrd

JAMES EDWARD BATES — SUN HERALD Buy Photo

PASCAGOULA -- State Senior Status Judge Samac S. Richardson will preside over the March misdemeanor simple assault trial of Jackson County sheriff's Sgt. Jackie Trussell.

Trussell, former commander of the now-defunct Narcotics Task Force of Jackson County, is accused of shooting at the feet of another agent, deputy Chad Powell, July 31, resulting in a wound to Powell's shin.

Richardson, of Brandon, has served as a circuit judge in the 20th Judicial District of Madison and Rankin counties, a Rankin County Court judge, an assistant district attorney, a public defender, a Rankin County school board hearing officer and a city attorney in Pearl.

Chief Justice William Waller Jr. appointed Richardson to preside over Trussell's trial. The order was filed in Jackson County Circuit Court on Monday.

Jackson County Circuit judges Kathy King Jackson, Robert Krebs and Dale Harkey filed an order Jan. 25 to recuse themselves from presiding over Trussell's trial, set for March 5 in Jackson County. Trussell is free on a $1,000 signature bond.

In the recusal order, the judges said Trussell, as a county task force agent, had testified in trials before them.

Sheriff Mike Byrd did not disclose information about the shooting when it occurred. After newspaper reports came out about the shooting, Byrd described it as accidental.

Byrd later denied a request from the Sun Herald for a copy of investigative reports about the shooting. The Sun Herald obtained the documents independently, first reporting the details in October.

According to the reports, Trussell drew his pistol and shot a round at the floor of Powell, who "poked" at Trussell repeatedly with a syringe at the task force's Pascagoula office. The agent was wounded by concrete fragments when the bullet hit the floor. Trussell said he and another deputy assigned to the task force, Sgt. Shawn Kimmerly, treated the wound.

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