Moss Point man awaits re-sentencing on 2008 murder charge

Darwin ‘D.J’ Wells
Darwin ‘D.J’ Wells

A Moss Point man awaiting re-sentencing on a murder charge in the October 2008 shooting death of a Hattiesburg man is in trouble again.

Circuit Judge Robert Krebs on Friday sentenced Darwin “D.J.” Wells, now 24, to five years in prison to run concurrently to whatever his new sentence will be on a conviction of murder by deliberate design in the killing in Moss Point.

In his latest crime, Wells admitted punching deputy Amanda Shepperson in the face at the Jackson County jail on March 16.

The judge also ordered Wells to pay a $1,000 fine and $100 to the Crime Victims’ Compensation Fund.

Wells was just 15 when he shot and killed Michael David Porter of Hattiesburg, who had stopped at the service station to ask directions to his grandson’s football game. Porter also was robbed.

A jury convicted him of murder and automatically sentenced him to life with parole.

Wells was transferred from Mississippi Department of Corrections to the Jackson County jail in September to await re-sentencing on his murder conviction.

The re-sentencing is because of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that it is a violation of the Eighth Amendment — which prohibits cruel and unusual punishment — to automatically sentence anyone 18 or younger to life for certain violent crimes, such as murder. Certain factors now must be considered, such as the defendant’s age and maturity at the time of the crime; whether the person appreciates the risks and consequences of his or her actions; and other key elements, including the heinous nature of the crime.

Wells and two others, Terry Hye Jr., then 15, and Telvin James Benjamin, then 14, were indicted on capital murder charges in Porter’s killing.

Hye is serving a sentence of life without parole for capital murder and is up for re-sentencing.

Wells is set for re-sentencing in May. He will remain jailed in Jackson County pending a ruling in his re-sentencing.

Benjamin was first convicted of capital murder in Porter’s death, but the verdict was overturned. He was then acquitted of the crime, but is now serving time on unrelated offenses.

Margaret Baker: 228-896-0538, @Margar45