Willie Cory Godbolt sentenced to death for 2017 crime spree that left 8 dead

Godbolt was found guilty on all 12 charges, including 8 murders, after 2017 crime spree

Godbolt sentenced to death

MAGNOLIA, Miss. (WLBT) - Cory Godbolt has been found guilty on all charges: 4 counts of capital murder, 4 counts of first-degree murder, 2 counts of kidnapping, 1 count of attempted murder and 1 count of armed robbery.

Godbolt has been sentenced to to death for the murders of Deputy William Durr, Jordan Blackwell, Austin Edwards, and Sheila Burage.

He was sentenced to life sentences for the deaths of Brenda May, Barbara Mitchell, Toccara May, and Ferral Burage.

Godbolt was also sentenced to life for the attempted murder of Timothy Keys. He is also facing a life sentence for kidnapping and 20 years for armed robbery.

Closing arguments began today in the Cory Godbolt murder trial.

A jury is now deliberating as they look to decide Godbolt’s future.

Godbolt is accused of killing eight people in a crime spree in 2017. It took five days to choose the jury in DeSoto County.

Prosecutors told jurors Saturday that Godbolt murdered eight people, kidnapped two, and took a vehicle from another with the use of a deadly weapon over a span of seven to eight hours.

Investigators say Godbolt went to his in-laws’ home in May 2017 and argued with his estranged wife and her family over the couple’s two children.

He is also charged with killing the deputy who was called to the home.


During closing arguments, it was specified that the deaths of William Durr, Jordan Blackwell, Austin Edwards, and Shelia Burage are counts of capital murder. The others are first-degree murder.

The state has to prove that Godbolt’s actions were deliberate.

“Of any case out there, this one is full of the defendant’s deliberate design,” ADA Todney Tidwell said, adding that “deliberate design” means “intent to kill.”

Tidwell went into detail about the relationship between Sheena May and Cory Godbolt, pointing out that Sheena was finally leaving her husband Cory for good. He also alleged that on that night, Godbolt was watching videos of how to load and unload assault weapons like the ones used in the shooting spree.

Tidwell then listed witnesses that have testified in case that Godbolt was not emotional. These witnesses include his alleged kidnapping victims, and his sister.

A text message from Godbolt to Tiffany Blackwell was quoted after killing her son Jordan: “Payback b$#@. You f*** up my family, now it’s yours, h*”

WATCH: Godbolt testifies

Godbolt took the stand next and addressed the jury, saying that he was the only one who was at every scene. He said these people are his family.

“That night has been characterized by everyone but me,” Godbolt stated.

He went on to say that he has always tried to defend his family, his town, and that he sees how his family is torn apart.

“What came from that night was not the fruit of my heart, but of my perception,” he said. He denied that he tried to control his wife. “To the end of my life I will always adore Sheena Fay Godbolt.”

“For me not to be disturbed and broken-hearted at what had happened makes me out to what they say I am,” Godbolt said.

Cory Godbolt; Source: WLBT
Cory Godbolt; Source: WLBT (Source: Cory Godbolt; WLBT)

Godbolt stated that he wanted to go to Percy Quinn Park to commit suicide after all of this happened, but he went to see his friends instead, admitting to them that he messed up.

Godbolt apologized to the court, saying that he couldn’t fight his own battles. He said the fruit of his mind and perception became his reality.

Alison Steiner, Godbolt’s attorney, said that Godbolt is afraid of being killed, or being locked away forever.

The defense showed several pictures of Godbolt with his family.

Steiner referred to Cory’s brother Chris Godbolt’s testimony that Cory has asked him to take care of his children before he surrendered.

“I’m not saying the idealized view Cory has of his family is perfect; no family is perfect. But it was an honest view. This was a genuine love. This was a genuine fear,” Steiner said.

Steiner also argued that Godbolt’s state of mind need to be considered. “No, he shouldn’t have been shooting at a police officer. He shouldn’t have been there, he shouldn’t have done that, but who would not become passionate if they thought everything they loved was about to be taken away?”

ADA Brendon Adams stepped up to speak and stated, ““Cory Godbolt loves his family, that’s what you’ve been told. How did he show that love? He slaughtered his whole family. Is it reasonable to love someone so much you kill 8 people...is that reasonable?”

ADA Brendon Adams speaks at Godbolt trial; Source: WLBT
ADA Brendon Adams speaks at Godbolt trial; Source: WLBT (Source: ADA Brendon Adams speaks at Godbolt trial; WLBT)

Adams said that Godbolt stood over Toccara May as she lay in a defense posture and pulled the trigger.

READ MORE: Godbolt’s brother shares emotional testimony on day 6 of trial

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