Thursday, January 13, 2011
Voter fraud case ends with sentencing of last defendant
The last of 16 defendants has been sentenced for his role in the Benton County voter fraud case, attorney general Jim Hood announced Tuesday.
David Massey, 40, of Hickory Flat, was indicted on one count of conspiracy to commit voter fraud and three counts of voter fraud. He entered an open plea before Benton County Circuit Court
Judge Andrew Howorth, meaning he refused to accept the state’s recommended sentence and threw himself on the mercy of the court. Judge Howard sentenced Massey to five years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections with five years to serve. He must also pay a $5,000 fine and was ordered to report to the Benton County Jail this past Tuesday at 2 p.m. to await transport to MDOC. The judge retained jurisdiction over the case for 365 days.
Initially, Massey was offered a plea deal for a suspended sentence to testify against his fellow defendants, but was later charged with the sale of a controlled substance, which negated the plea offer, according to Hood.
Massey’s sentencing ends a three-year-long investigation related to a 16 defendant indictment. All of the defendants have either pled guilty or were found guilty of vote buying in Benton County related to elections in 2007. “This is an election year and a good time to remind folks that vote buying will not be tolerated in this state,” Hood said.
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