Lamar County woman pleads guilty to cyberstalking teenager

Lamar County woman pleads guilty to cyberstalking teenager
Keri Jo Ford

PURVIS, MS (WDAM) - A Lamar County woman pleaded guilty Friday morning to cyber-stalking a Purvis teen.

Keri Jo Ford, 38, of Purvis admitted her guilt and agreed that the charges against her were true as she stood before Circuit Judge Anthony Mozingo in a Lamar County Courtroom.

Mozingo stated the court will withhold sentencing until a pre-sentence investigation is completed, and took people involved in the case into his chambers for a conference.

Mozingo returned to address the court as well as let the mother of the victim address the court.

Mozingo sentenced Ford to three years non-adjudicated probation in the matter and dismissed her from the room.

Ford was arrested in February 2015 and charged with one count of cyber-stalking. Ford was later released on a $1,000 bond.

According to Ford's indictment between Sept. 1 2014 and Sept. 4, 2014 she "did willfully, unlawfully, intentionally and feloniously electronically communicate to another repeatedly for the purpose of harassing any person: to wit did repeatedly electronically communicate with Joseph Barrett, 19, for the purpose of harassing him."

According to family members of Barrett, Ford was the mother of his ex-girlfriend.

Joseph Lee "Joe" Barrett of Lumberton died Sept. 4, 2014 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The investigation:

"The family then contacted the Attorney General's office and worked with the cyber crime unit," said Kittrill.

Through the course of the investigation the phone records were dumped by the cyber crime unit, and the information pertaining to the case was given back to the 15th Circuit District Attorney's Office.

"We presented what we believe to be the most appropriate charge for the case, and that's what the grand jury returned based on the facts that we had in hand," said Kittrill.