CATEGORY: Courts

AUTHOR: SUMMER

HED:Corinth man pleads guilty in Baldwyn murder case

By Jane Clark Summers

Daily Journal Corinth Bureau

BOONEVILLE - The second of two cousins charged in connection with the death of a Baldwyn mechanic pleaded guilty Tuesday in Prentiss County Circuit Court.

Former Corinth firefighter Denny L. Scales, 34, pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact to manslaughter in connection with the Aug. 14, 1997, death of Louis Shelly, 39, of Baldwyn.

Scales worked out a plea bargain with the District Attorney's Office in exchange for an agreement to testify against his co-defendant.

Circuit Judge Frank Russell sentenced him to five years, suspended the sentence and placed him on three years of supervised probation. He also fined him $1,000 and ordered him to pay court costs.

In April, Kenneth W. "Kenny" Scales, 34, of Corinth pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of manslaughter.

Circuit Judge Thomas Gardner followed the state's recommendation and sentenced Kenny Scales to a maximum term of 20 years at a Mississippi Department of Corrections facility. He must serve 85 percent of the sentence, or about 17.5 years, before becoming eligible for parole consideration.

Both men originally were indicted on capital murder charges since robbery was believed to be the motive and the underlying felony.

Police were called to the Shelly residence at 540 Bradley St. in Baldwyn after gunshots were reported. Witnesses told police they heard sounds of an altercation and gunshots coming from the Shelly residence.

Tuesday agreement

Denny Scales has cooperated with law enforcement officials since his arrest shortly after the shooting, said Jim Pounds, assistant district attorney.

The state recommended he serve five years in prison.

Defense attorney Christy McCoy asked Russell to sentence him to time served.

Denny Scales has been a model prisoner since he was jailed about 17 months ago, she said. Prior to his involvement in the shooting, he had been a firefighter for the city of Corinth for 12 years, she said.

Asking the court for leniency, McCoy said her client was a lifelong resident of the area, having been born in Baldwyn and raised in Corinth.

Denny Scales, the father of two children, provided crucial help in the prosecution of his co-defendant, Pounds said. The family of the victim supported the plea bargain although no agreement was reached on the sentencing recommendation, he said.

Russell said Denny Scales has no prior criminal record and cooperated with law enforcement in the case. But Russell also noted the defendant made the decision to go with his cousin to Shelly's garage that day even though he was not the trigger man.

Other terms of Denny Scales' sentence will include random testing for drugs and alcohol, and a prohibition against his owning or possessing firearms as a convicted felon, Russell said. Violation of probationary rules could result in his serving the full 5-year sentence.

The judge also told Denny Scales that he cannot leave Mississippi during his probationary period.

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