Crime

Moss Point mayor, wife are set for Thursday domestic violence trial

Moss Point Mayor Mario King and his wife, Natasha, on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018 after a press conference at City Hall to address the city's growing violent crime problem.
Moss Point Mayor Mario King and his wife, Natasha, on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018 after a press conference at City Hall to address the city's growing violent crime problem. jcfitzhugh@sunherald.com

Mayor Mario King and his wife, Natasha King, are set to go to trial on a misdemeanor domestic violence charge in Jackson County Court Justice Court on Thursday afternoon.

Attorney Keith Miller, who is also the city’s judge, is representing the mayor. Dustin Thomas is representing Natasha King. Both are accused of assaulting one another, according to the sheriff’s office reports and an affidavit filed in the case.

An investigation began Oct. 20 after Natasha King went to the sheriff’s office to report a domestic dispute with her husband at their Moss Point home.

Sheriff’s investigators spoke to both parties and arrested them three days later, each on a charge of misdemeanor simple assault domestic violence.

Natasha King said an “altercation” occurred after her husband got home after 1:15 a.m. Oct. 20.

She said the two started arguing after she asked, “what he was doing out so late,” the sheriff’s report said.

Natasha King said he “punched her in the arm” and said, “‘I can’t (expletive) stand you,’” the report said.

She said her husband packed a bag and went into the room of his “live-in assistant,” Setonia Cook, and told her to “wake up.” Cook is employed as the mayor’s secretary and lives with them as well.

Natasha King said her husband and Cook left in Mario King’s personal BMW and his city work vehicle. They returned a short time later and King went to sleep on the couch. Cook went to her room and went to bed.

Natasha King said her husband later told her he had gone to the hospital to get a shot because “she had bit him during the altercation,” the sheriff’s report said. She denied biting him, the report said, but admitted he likely had scratches on his body from the “altercation.”

Sheriff’s investigators spoke to Mario King at City Hall.

Mario King said his wife tried to knock his cellphone out of his hand after he received a phone call at 1:40 a.m. He said she scratched him and investigators took photos of marks on both of his upper arms and a mark about his right hip bone and the right side of his head.

Cook was also interviewed. She told investigators that she did not hear anything and that Mario King woke her up and asked her to drop his BMW off down the road. Cook said she had not seen any priors signs of domestic “abuse.”

The sheriff’s office also took photo of Natasha King’s injuries. She had ‘minor scratches on her right arm with a small bruise, scratches on on the back of her neck and a red mark on her collarbone area,” the sheriff’s report said.

Natasha King told investigators her husband had “hit her for many years and that he usually hits her in her head area so that her hair covers the marks left behind,” the report said.

Mario later denied the Oct. 20 incident in an interview with WXXV-TV. “There’s no domestic problems going on with my wife at all,” he said in the interview. “My wife has not been beat.”

The couple is scheduled to appear before Judge Daniel Guice.

The Jackson County Sheriff’s handled the investigation because King is the commissioner of the Moss Point Police Department as the city’s mayor.

Whether someone has asked you for help or you sense someone is in distress, here are some general guidelines to help support possible victims of abuse, be it physical, emotional, sexual, psychological or financial.

Sun Herald reporter Karen Nelson contributed to this article.

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