- Associated Press - Friday, April 18, 2014

GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) - A Harrison County jury convicted Michael Leroy Knight on drug distribution charges even though he failed to return to his trial.

Assistant District Attorney Matthew Burrell told The Sun Herald (https://bit.ly/1gFRhJ4 ) Knight, 54, was in court for the first day of trial Tuesday but didn’t show up Wednesday. Burrell said the jury found Knight guilty Wednesday night.

He said Knight, facing a life sentence as a habitual offender, has since been arrested in Chalmette, La., after a hit-and-run accident.

Circuit Judge Lisa Dodson deferred sentencing until Knight is returned to Mississippi. Prosecutors said Knight’s felony convictions include manslaughter in 1976 and second-degree murder in Florida in 1985.

Gulfport police testified they had arrested Knight in June 2012 on two counts of possession with intent to distribute after a search of a hotel room at America’s Best Value Inn on U.S. Highway 49.

Police found 68 oxycodone pills and 297 methadone pills, and more than 300 pills were missing from prescriptions filled in the past two days, Burrell said.

A state narcotics officer testified Knight told investigators he got the prescriptions in Alabama and sold the pills for profit.

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Information from: The Sun Herald, https://www.sunherald.com

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