Grand jury hears case against suspect charged with taking photos of Cochran's ailing wife

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JACKSON, Mississippi — The case of a Pearl man accused of sneaking into a nursing home to take a photo of U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran's bedridden wife has been presented to a grand jury.

Madison County District Attorney Michael Guest told The Clarion-Ledger (http://on.thec-l.com/1rZCmV6) the case against Clayton Kelly was presented in September. He would not comment further on status of the case or whether the grand jury has made any decisions, but said paperwork should be filed by late next week with the circuit clerk's office.

On Easter Sunday — April 20 — the 27-year-old Kelly allegedly took photos of Cochran's wife at St. Catherine's Village nursing home in Madison. The photos were used in a political online video against Cochran during the Republican Senate primary in which he faced tea party-backed state Sen. Chris McDaniel.

Kelly was a McDaniel supporter and a political blogger. He was charged in May with exploitation of a vulnerable adult, photo voyeurism and conspiracy.

Kelly and three other defendants were initially charged in the case.

Richard Sager, a Laurel school teacher and soccer coach, was charged with conspiracy and tampering with evidence.

John Mary of Hattiesburg was charged with two counts of conspiracy.

Ridgeland Attorney Mark Mayfield, who was a Mississippi tea party official, was charged with conspiracy. Mayfield committed suicide in June.

Mary pleaded guilty to conspiracy in August in a plea deal. He agreed to cooperate in the prosecution of the other defendants if their cases went to trial. In exchange for his guilty plea, Mary received no jail time and could have the conviction wiped from his record.

Sager attorney Tom Fortner has said his client has been in plea-agreement negotiations.

Cochran, a longtime incumbent, defeated McDaniel in a Republican primary runoff on June 24. McDaniel has challenged the election in court and asked the Mississippi Supreme Court to reinstate a lawsuit that recently was dismissed by a state judge specially appointed by the high court to hear the lawsuit.

Cochran has been certified as the Republican candidate for Senate and would face Democrat Travis Childers and the Reform Party's Shawn O'Hara in the Nov. 4 general election.


Information from: The Clarion-Ledger, http://www.clarionledger.com

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