JACKSON, Miss. — The Mississippi Court of Appeals is affirming the murder conviction of a man who told police that he helped kill someone who owed him money for yard work they did together.

Appeals court judges Tuesday rejected James Lee Johnson III’s argument that his defense attorney was ineffective.

Johnson , now 21, was convicted in Quitman County in 2016 and is serving a life sentence.

Court records show Johnson told investigators different versions of what happened the day Curtis Mumford was killed in June 2015.

Johnson said Mumford owed him $20 because they had cut a neighbor’s grass. Johnson told investigators that he and another man killed Mumford. He said he fought with Mumford and the other man stabbed Mumford with hedge clippers.

A pathologist testified Mumford was killed by sharp-force injuries.

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