- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 19, 2015

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - An appeals court has upheld the seven life sentences for a man convicted of helping his inmate cousin escape from armed guards on a 2009 trip outside a Mississippi prison to an eye clinic. The two men drove to Tennessee, where the fleeing inmate shot a Nashville police officer.

The Mississippi Court of Appeals on Tuesday upheld the 2012 convictions and sentence of Courtney Logan. He was found guilty in Mississippi on five counts of kidnapping, one count of aiding escape and one count of being a felon with a firearm. Logan, who is from Louisville, Kentucky, remains in prison in Mississippi.

Logan, now 32, had argued in his appeal that his attorney did too little to help him at trial. He also argued that there was too little evidence to convict him of kidnapping related to how he acted toward prison guards and employees at the eye clinic as he helped his cousin, Joseph Jackson Jr., break loose.

Court records show that on June 25, 2009, three prison guards took Jackson and another inmate from the Delta Correctional Facility, a privately operated state prison in Greenwood, Mississippi, to a clinic in town called The Eye Station. The officers escorted the shackled prisoners into the clinic, and Logan entered the back door moments later, carrying a duffel bag with a handgun.

“Logan claims he did not intend to hurt or kidnap anyone and that he fired two shots, held the officers and employees of the clinic at gunpoint and threatened to kill them if they did not comply in order to ‘maintain control,’ ” according to appeals court records.

Judges rejected that argument.

“The detention and movement of the officers and the employees was not merely incidental to another and lesser crime of aiding an escape,” the appeals court wrote.

After fleeing Greenwood, Logan and Jackson drove to Tennessee, where they were pulled over because Logan wasn’t wearing a seatbelt, authorities said. While Nashville Police Sgt. Mark Chesnut checked their driver’s licenses, Jackson shot Chesnut shot several times, but the officer survived.

Logan testified during his trial that his uncle devised a plan for his son, Jackson, to escape from custody during a doctor’s visit. Logan also testified that he feared for his own children’s safety because of the uncle.

“Logan admitted to following through with the crimes, but claimed his intent was only to follow the orders of his uncle … because he felt at the time he had no choice,” court records show.

Before the escape, Jackson was serving a life sentence at Delta Correctional Facility for two armed robberies and an aggravated assault.

In Tennessee, Jackson pleaded guilty in 2010 to attempted first-degree murder in the shooting of Chesnut, and was sentenced to 45 years in prison. Tennessee records show Jackson, now 36, remains in prison in that state.

A Tennessee jury in 2010 convicted Logan of attempted first-degree murder, and he was sentenced to 31 years. He was later transferred to a prison in Mississippi.


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