SOUTHAVEN, Miss. — A grand jury could decide whether to indict a Mississippi lawmaker and others in a shovel-swinging brawl in a DeSoto County subdivision.
District Attorney John Champion could present the case involving state Sen. Chris Massey of Olive Branch, lawn service operator Anthony Smith and others to a grand jury, The Commercial Appeal reported (http://memne.ws/2dG7t4H ).
Massey, 45, is a homebuilder. After a brawl July 7 in the upscale Windstone subdivision in Olive Branch, he and his father, Jackie Gayron Massey, 66, of Nesbit, were charged with aggravated assault; lawn service employee Marcus Lane, 25, of Memphis, Tennessee, was charged with aggravated assault; and Smith, 60, of Memphis, Tennessee, was charged with simple assault. All were released on bond.
According to the police report, Smith claimed Massey’s vehicle was blocking the road, words were exchanged and the dispute escalated into a brawl involving wrestling on the ground, swinging shovels and spitting.
During a hearing Thursday in Olive Branch Municipal Court, attorneys agreed to let Champion decide if felony charges will be considered by a grand jury.
“I think out of an abundance of caution, and the public perception, everyone just wanted to make sure it’s handled properly,” said Chris Massey’s attorney Steve Farese.
Smith’s attorney, John Keith Perry, said he and his client agreed it was best to let the district attorney handle the case.
“We feel confident about our case, and we’re sure John Champion will do his job,” Perry said.
The two sides will return to Olive Branch court Dec. 15 to resolve the case if a grand jury doesn’t hand down indictments.
Massey, a Republican, has served in the Mississippi Senate since 2012 and is chairman of the Senate Ethics Committee. He said in a statement two days after his arrest: “I have committed no crime and have great confidence that once the true facts are known that I will be completely exonerated.”