Bennett died an innocent man - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Innocent until proven guilty

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Twenty-one -year old Markuieze Bennett died from a brutal attack inside the Hinds County Detention Center during a jail riot back in March.

Bennett had been sitting in jail since 2012. His attorney, who at the time was the Assistant Public Defender for Hinds County, continued fighting for her client, but he was killed behind bars before he was convicted of any crime.

In the eyes of the law, he died an innocent man after a brutal jail riot March 31st.

Papers show his attorney filed numerous documents in 2012 and 2013 begging the Hinds County District Attorney's Office to proceed with the case.

The official paperwork shows Bennett had an alibi and a witness statement from Sepedah Vance exonerating him from the Strong Arm Robbery charge.

But if you continue reading the paperwork, it reveals repeated attempts were made to communicate with the state. Bennett's attorney demanded a speedy trial February 27, 2013.

The documents say, "The State has refused to communicate with Mr. Bennett's counsel" concerning a trial that was slated for April 2013.

Meanwhile, Bennett was already incarcerated for more than 365 days awaiting trial which is in violation of his constitutional rights.

Bennett's attorney continued to push for his trial, but in July 2013 Bennett's witness, Sepedah Vance was murdered.

Several other alibi witness statements were given to the DA's office, according to the paperwork, but Bennett remained behind bars until the day he was attacked inside the jail, dying before true justice was served.

Benett's public defender at the time no longer works for the Hinds County Public Defender's office.

So how many other inmates are sitting inside the Hinds County Detention Center in violation of their constitutional rights?

We  have uncovered more documents that show some inmates have been sitting behind bars for more than 5 years.

Tune in to WLBT News Thursday night as this indepth investigation continues.

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