Appeals Court orders new trial for woman convicted in death of Mississippi sheriff

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JACKSON, Mississippi — The state Court of Appeals has overturned the conviction of Brandy Nicole Williams in the 2010 death of George County Sheriff Garry Welford.

The Appeals Court found Tuesday that the trial judge erred in preventing the jury from hearing a statement Williams' boyfriend gave to law enforcement officers that implicated him in the crime.

The court ordered a new trial for Williams.

Williams and her boyfriend, Christopher Lee Baxter, were convicted in 2012 of capital murder. Each was sentenced to life without parole. Williams declined to testify at Baxter's trial. Baxter's conviction and sentence were upheld by the Appeals Court in July.

Welford was struck by a pickup truck in which Williams and Baxter were fleeing from authorities on July 21, 2010. Baxter was sought on an arrest warrant issued after he missed a sentencing date for drug convictions.

Welford was putting spikes at an intersection near the Alabama line to stop the truck and end a high-speed chase.

Baxter and Williams were captured the next morning at a mobile home about six miles north of the scene.

Williams' attorneys argued the judge erred in not letting the jury hear a statement Baxter gave in a post-arrest interview. Prosecutors said the interview was untrustworthy and did not exonerate Williams.

The Appeals Court, however, said Baxter's statement was self-incriminating and had been used by prosecutors against Baxter in his trial.

The Appeals Court said Baxter admitted to taking over the driving of the truck and was driving when Welford was hit. The court said a witness also put Baxter behind the wheel.

The Appeals Court said Baxter's statement was important to Williams' defense and the trial judge's decision denied her a fair trial.

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