Mississippi Supreme Court affirms a death row inmate's convictions in the killings of 8 people

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The Mississippi Supreme Court has affirmed the convictions and death sentences of a man in the killings of eight people, including his mother-in-law and a deputy sheriff, at three different crime scenes one long night in 2017. Justices turned away all 19 points of appeal on Thursday, including claims of an unfair jury and ineffective defense.

Willie Cory Godbolt was convicted in February 2020 of four counts of capital murder, four counts of murder, two counts of kidnapping, one count of attempted murder and one count of armed robbery.

A jury sentenced Godbolt to death for each of the capital murders. For the other convictions, Godbolt was sentenced to six life sentences and two 20-year terms.

Godbolt spoke in court just before his sentencing, blaming the devil for his actions on the night he killed eight people in the south Mississippi towns of Brookhaven and Bogue Chitto.

Investigators said the violence began when Godbolt went to his in-laws' house on May 27, 2017, and argued with his estranged wife about their children.

The family called for help, and a Lincoln County deputy sheriff who responded was fatally shot in the face. Godbolt’s mother-in-law and two other people were killed there. In the early hours of the next day, two young people were killed in a second house and a married couple was killed in a third house.

Godbolt, now 41, is on death row at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman.

Seven justices affirmed Godbolt's conviction, but justices Leslie King and Jim Kitchens dissented. King wrote that Goldbolt was deprived of the constitutional right to a fair and impartial jury because the pool included a large number of people with connections to law enforcement, and four were selected as jurors.