- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 8, 2015

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - A Caledonia man is seeking a new trial for the 2008 fatal shooting of his wife, an incident his attorneys call a “horribly tragic accident” but undeserving of a murder conviction and life sentence.

The appeal by Brian Holliman from his 2013 first-degree murder conviction in Lowndes County is among dozens of cases before the Mississippi Supreme Court in its July-August term. The Supreme Court will not hear oral arguments in the case.

Holliman was accused of shooting his wife, Laura Lee Holliman, to death with a shotgun in their family home in 2008. An earlier conviction in the death had been overturned by the Mississippi Supreme Court in 2011.

Defense attorneys argue in briefs that Holliman was holding a shotgun which was pointed at his wife’s head when his wife hit or slapped the shotgun, which discharged and resulted in Laura’s death. They argue Holliman, if anything, should have been convicted of a lesser charge of manslaughter. Manslaughter carries a 20-year sentence.

Prosecutors argued the jury took in the “whole picture” surrounding the incident, including the Hollimans’ rocky marriage, often heated arguments and Holliman repeated refusals to give his wife a divorce. Prosecutors say Holliman also admitted pointing the loaded shotgun at his wife’s head and then trying to stage the scene as a suicide.

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