Accused Lincoln County shooter denied bond in initial court appearance

Accused Lincoln County shooter denied bond in initial court appearance
Jordan Blackwell; Source: family
Jordan Blackwell; Source: family
Lincoln County Deputy William Durr (Source: The Daily Leader newspaper)
Lincoln County Deputy William Durr (Source: The Daily Leader newspaper)
One of the crime scenes in Brookhaven after 8 people were shot and killed overnight. (Source: WLBT)
One of the crime scenes in Brookhaven after 8 people were shot and killed overnight. (Source: WLBT)
Austin Blackwell, Source: Family
Austin Blackwell, Source: Family

LINCOLN COUNTY, MS (Mississippi News Now) - The man accused of shooting and killing eight people, including a Lincoln County sheriff's deputy, was denied bond in his initial court appearance Tuesday.

35-year-old Willie Corey Godbolt was charged with one count of capital murder and seven counts of first degree murder.

The judge will appoint an attorney for Godbolt.

Agents of the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation with Lincoln County Sheriff's deputies and District Attorney are among those investigating this deadly shooting that claimed the lives of eight people.

The Lincoln County deputy has been identified as 36-year-old William Durr.

According to MBI's Warren Strain, the seven other victims have been identified as 55-year-old Barbara Mitchell, 53-year-old Brenda May, and 35-year-old Tocarra May, 45-year-old Ferral Burage, and 46-year-old Shelia Burage, 11-year-old Austin Blackwell and 17-year-old Jordan Blackwell.

"They all were kind people," said Shirley McGowan, Godbolt's aunt through marriage. "Just like, if something happened, they always were there. You would always see them and know they were there when you needed them. So it's just hard to know he would take their lives."

The suspect is in custody and was treated at a Jackson hospital for a gunshot wound. He was released on Tuesday, May 30 and is now being held at an undisclosed detention facility.

The shooting spree began at approximately 11:30 p.m., Sunday after Deputy Durr was called to Vincent Mitchell's home on Lee Drive in Bogue Chitto in reference to a domestic dispute between Godbolt and his wife, regarding their children.

Four bodies, three women and the deputy, were recovered inside the home.

"I honestly believe he came to kill everybody in the house, said Vincent Mitchell. "I honestly believe that."

Mitchell, Godbolt's wife, and Godbolt's children were able to get out of the house alive. Family says the wife and children escaped through a window on the side of the house.

"Get out the way because nobody is going to try to just stay in there to get shot," said Mitchell. "He just started shooting."

Durr was a two year veteran of the Lincoln County Sheriff's Department and a four year veteran of the Brookhaven Police Department.

"He was a great officer," said Sheriff Steve Rushing. "[He] loved his job and loved his family. There wasn't a whole lot he wouldn't do for somebody."

Sheriff Rushing says Durr leaves behind a wife and 10-year-old son.

Mitchell said the other three bodies found at his house were those of Barbara Mitchell, Brenda May, Tocarra May. They were Mitchell's wife, her sister and his stepdaughter, who is Godbolt's sister-in-law.

Godbolt's stepfather-in-law, Godbolt's wife and their two young children were able to escape the gunfire through a broken window.

"This is just unbelievable," said Mitchell. " A nightmare comes to reality."

Family members of the victims said Godbolt then took a person hostage, forcing them to drive him to the next two crime scenes.

The second crime scene was located at 1658 Coopertown Road in Brookhaven, where the bodies of two young men were found.

A neighbor said they heard 30 shots around 2:15 a.m. According to that neighbor, the house belonged to Shon and Tiffany Blackwell, cousins of Godbolt.

Austin and Jordan Blackwell, the 11-year-old and 17-year-old nephews of Godbolt were at the home.

The neighbor said their parents were out of the house - they heard about the first shooting and went to check on their relatives.

The third crime scene was located at 312 East Lincoln Road, where the bodies of a man and a woman were recovered.

Mitchell says his wife's niece, Shelia Burage, and her husband, Ferral Burage, were killed at this location.

Mitchell said the unforeseen turn of events, after that emergency phone call, has changed their family forever.

"They've been involved in domestic violence, back and forth, for several years," said Mitchell. " This is the outcome of domestic violence. We are just going to have to be a strong family and keep praying. All we can do is be here for each other."

Mitchell said that he and his wife, Barbara, who was shot and killed, just celebrated 20 years of marriage on May 17.

Odree May III's sister and her husband were among those killed.

"My sister was a beautiful female," said May III. "Ain't never did nothing, always helped everybody out. Always. I ain't never heard nobody say anything bad about her."

May III says he'll never be able to forgive the accused killer.

"He's always going to be part of my family. He's got the same blood," explained May. "But he never in his life can say nothing to me no more"

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant released a statement Sunday morning saying:

I ask all Mississippians to join Deborah and me in praying for those lost in Lincoln County. Every day, the men and women who wear the badge make some measure of sacrifice to protect and serve their communities. Too often, we lose one of our finest. I thank the law enforcement agencies involved for their hard work. May the peace of the Almighty wash over those hurting after this senseless tragedy.

Attorney General Jim Hood also released a statement saying:

We mourn the loss of last night's tragic deaths in Lincoln County. There are simply no words to convey the sadness and shock from such an event. The death of an officer who was responding to a call for help illustrates the danger law enforcement officers face every day. It is with a heavy heart that we pray for the family and friends of the deputy killed in the line of duty and the seven other victims.

Other agencies involved include the Mississippi Highway Patrol, Bureau of Narcotics, Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, Pike, Walthall, Franklin, Copiah, Lawrence, Amite County Sheriff's Departments, and the Brookhaven Police Department.

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