DeLaughter Begins Prison Term | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

DeLaughter Begins Prison Term

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Bobby DeLaughter, pictured, a former Hinds County judge and assistant district attorney, withheld DNA evidence at Cedric Willis' 1994 trial that eventually exonerated Willis—after 12 years behind bars.

Bobby DeLaughter, former Hinds County prosecutor, rocketed to national fame in 1994 when, 31 years after the crime, he put Byron De La Beckwith behind bars for the 1963 murder of Medgar Evers.

DeLaughter made some deeply flawed, dishonest decisions, however. As an assistant district attorney, DeLaughter also put Jackson native Cedric Willis in prison for 12 years back in 1994, suppressing the DNA evidence that proved Willis was innocent of the crimes. Then, last year, he pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents in a corruption scandal that has rocked the Mississippi judicial system.

Charles Evers, Medgar Evers brother, says he trying to raise money to help pay DeLaughter's expenses, reports CNN.

"What can we do but fight for a man who fought for us?" Charles Evers told CNN. "I want DeLaughter to know I'm behind him 100 percent."

Former Hinds County District Attorney Ed Peters, who was DeLaughter's boss in the 1990s, received immunity in the case for which DeLaughter is spending the next year and a half in prison. Booneville attorneys Joey Langston and Timothy Balducci pleaded guilty to paying Peters $1 million to influence DeLaughter.

"To me, he is a tragic figure because he had a good career and he threw it away," attorney Bill Kirksey told CNN. "He became an embarrassment to the legal community, to the judicial community and, I would hope, to himself."

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