- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 16, 2016

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) - A Forrest County jury took on 50 minutes to find a 27-year-old man guilty of first-degree murder.

V’Nell Miskel initially was charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy in the death of 20-year-old Johnnie Cooper. His body was found on Sept. 11, 2014, in a drainage ditch at a Hattiesburg softball complex.

The Hattiesburg American reports (https://hatne.ws/2fX0oiW) Judge Jon Mark Weathers sustained a motion to acquit V’Nell Miskell of conspiracy in a directed verdict Tuesday, so the jury was only allowed to consider the murder charge.

Jurors were instructed to deliberate on whether to find V’Nell Miskell not guilty or guilty of first- or second-degree murder.

A sentencing hearing will be held Thursday or Friday.


Information from: The Hattiesburg American, https://www.hattiesburgamerican.com

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