State tackles defense motions in capital murder case of Sheriff Garry Welford

LUCEDALE - Defense attorneys for capital murder suspect Christopher Baxter, who is accused in the July 2010 killing of George County Sheriff Garry Welford, are arguing motions on Baxter's behalf in George County Circuit Court today.

George County sheriff's Deputy Bob Daffin was the first to take the stand this morning. He said Welford the morning of the pursuit told him to be on the lookout for Baxter, who had failed to show up for sentencing in a methamphetamine case.

Welford was ran over and killed at the conclusion of the pursuit.

Daffin said he spotted Baxter's co-defendant and girlfriend, Brandy Williams, in her father's truck that afternoon and started following them on Scott Road.

Williams was driving and he saw what appeared to be man's arm in the passenger seat of the truck. Though he could not say for sure Baxter was the one in the passenger seat at that time, he said he had reason to believe it was him because the pair often traveled together. Williams was Baxter's girlfriend.

Daffin first spotted Williams in the truck coming off of Old Highway 63. It turned on Scott Road, where a high-speed pursuit eventually followed. He said he activated his lights and sirens after the truck started driving in a reckless manner, running several motorists off the road. The chase, he said, reached speeds in excess of 100 mph.

Defense attorney Tom Fortner filed numerous motions in the case, including requests to see all video recordings of the pursuit from Daffin's patrol car.

Daffin said his patrol car was in the shop the morning of the pursuit and he was using a spare patrol car that was not equipped with a video.

The Sun Herald will provide updates as they develop.