Arraignment set for man in Biloxi shooting death of Waffle House waitress


BILOXI -- An arraignment is set for Monday for a former Biloxi firefighter accused in the shooting death of a Waffle House waitress.

A grand jury indicted Johnny Max Mount, 45, on a charge of first-degree murder in the Nov. 27 killing of Julie Brightwell.

The arraignment will be before Circuit Judge Lisa Dodson.

Mount's attorney, Jim Davis, said he will not waive the arraignment.

During an arraignment, a judge reads the formal charges, a plea is entered and a trial date is set.

"(Mount) will enter a not guilty plea at this time," Davis said Thursday.

The arraignment is set for 9 a.m.

According to court records, Mount was seated at a counter when Brightwell told him he couldn't smoke his e-cigarette inside the Biloxi restaurant.

He became angry, court records say, and pulled a 9 mm handgun from his waist.

When Brightwell saw the gun, records say, she ducked behind a counter but Mount got up, leaned over the counter and shot her once in the head. She died a short time later at Merit Health Biloxi.

Brightwell had been a Waffle House employee for eight years and had been asked to help open the new restaurant near Edgewater Mall in June 2014.

A friend of Mount's family said he was not a "monster," and something must have "snapped" in him.

Mount lost a leg and suffered a traumatic brain injury on Christmas Eve 2002 after he was hit by a car as he stood in the middle of U.S. 49 in Gulfport.

He had worked at the Biloxi Fire Department for 10 years.

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