BOONEVILLE • A Prentiss County man currently serving 24 years for shooting his mother’s boyfriend in 2014 could now face the death penalty for killing his 7-month-old daughter in 2012.
A Prentiss County grand jury indicted Jimmy Wayne Senter, 29, on March 10 for capital murder in the Sept. 9, 2012, death of his daughter, Emma Graice Senter. The indictment said Senter killed his daughter while “engaged in the commission of child abuse.”
Since Senter was 20 at the time, the state could seek the death penalty. District Attorney John Weddle has not said if he plans to do so.
The capital murder charge resulted from an investigation into a 2020 charge of child abuse against another of Senter’s children, this one just 2-months-old.
“During the initial investigation back in 2012, we felt he was responsible for the child’s death, but witnesses were not cooperative,” said Prentiss County Sheriff Randy Tolar. “Since starting the new investigation, folks have been more cooperative, and people came forward with some revelations. Because of that, my investigator told me that not only did she have enough evidence on the new charge, but we could probably go forward with the old charge as well.”
After conferring with the district attorney’s office, both cases were presented to the grand jury, which handed down indictments for capital murder and child abuse.
Senter and Courtney Burcham, 31, were arrested in October 2020 after their 8-week-old child was admitted to Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis with injuries consistent with abuse. While few details have been released about the 2012 case, the second indictment read in court by Circuit Court Judge Kelly Mims contained a laundry list of injuries the child suffered over a one-month period.
The child had bruises and lacerations on the head and face, including a torn eye lid. There was also evidence of damage to the child’s skull. Doctors found evidence where fractures to ribs and the lower leg were healing. There was also signs of liver damage and internal organ trauma.
During his arraignment Monday morning, Senter pleaded not guilty to both charges. The judge denied bond on both charges.
Even if the judge would have granted bond, Senter is not getting out anytime soon. Following his arrest last fall, a circuit court judge revoked Senter’s early release on separate aggravated assault and felony malicious mischief charges. A judge ordered him to serve out the remaining 24 years of those sentences in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections.
In that case, Senter, then 22, and his father went to to the County Road 8051 house where his mother and another man lived. An argument ensued and escalated to Senter shooting the man twice that Sunday afternoon.