HED:Corinth murder trial begins year after killing

By Jane Clark Summers

Daily Journal Corinth Bureau

CORINTH -Testimony detailing the murder of pawn shop owner Don Harville got under way Tuesday in Alcorn County Circuit Court, one year to the day and hour that the 59-year-old Corinth man was shot to death in his business.

The trial of Vickie Swinney, 25, of 1104 A Mitchell St., Corinth, began Monday with jury selection.

Swinney's brother, Nicholas J. Swinney, 16, of 1226 Ross St., Corinth, also is charged with capital murder in connection with the case. His trial is set for Nov. 23.

Sandra Vincent testified she was a regular customer at Don's Pawn Shop, located at the corner of U.S. Highway 72 and State Highway 145. She was one of the last people to see him alive. Vincent testified there were two people in the business when she left at about 2:35 p.m. on Nov. 17, 1998.

Off-duty Corinth police officer Nathan Lindsey testified he was standing in the parking lot of a hardware store just down the street from the pawn shop at about 2:45 p.m. when he heard gunfire. He said he saw a man running from the business, who crossed the street, then reversed directions and fell in the southbound lane of Highway 145.

That man was later identified as William Morrison, a customer who was wounded while trying to run from the store. Morrison recovered from his injuries.

"I could hear people screaming, 'That's the ones that did it,'" Lindsey said. "'They are getting away.'" Using his car phone, Lindsey reported the shooting to the police dispatcher at 2:46 p.m.

A passing motorist, Billy Shaw said he heard what he thought was a vehicle backfiring while he waited at a red light at U.S. 72 and Highway 145. When he looked in the direction of the noise, he said he noticed two subjects get in a car and head west on U.S. 72. Shaw, who saw Morrison stagger across the road and collapse, went to check on the victim, who by then was being attended by other passing motorists.

Shaw went inside to check on store owner Harville with whom he had been acquainted for many years. "I sort of stumbled and saw Don," he said. "He was laying on the floor, looking straight up at me. He looked like he was dead."

Teresa Crum testified she and her husband were in front of the pawn shop when they heard a gunshot and saw Morrison running toward the road, followed by a black male, who was pointing a handgun at him. "He shot that guy, don't let him do it again," Crum said she told her husband. "We backed up and got between him and Mr. Morrison."

Another passing motorist, Larry Turner testified that when he saw a man limping away from the pawn shop and a car quickly exiting the business' parking lot, he punched 911 into his cell phone and fell into pursuit. Continually keeping police informed through the 911 dispatcher, Turner followed the car west on U.S. 72, north on Alcorn Drive and east on Linden Street where police had set up a roadblock and the brother and sister were arrested.

Police Officer Shane Latch said a 9 mm handgun was recovered on the ground where Nicholas Swinney had been handcuffed.

Testimony resumes today at 9 a.m. Judge Thomas Gardner is presiding. The state is represented by District Attorney John Young and Assistant District Attorney Arch Bullard. The defense team is composed of Melvin Ellis and Greg Meyer.

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