Calloway denied motion for new trial

Calloway denied motion for new trial
Calloway leaving the courthouse after her motion was denied

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - A Hub City woman convicted for her involvement in the murders of Hattiesburg Police officers Benjamin Deen and Liquori Tate was denied a request for a new trial during a court appearance on Tuesday.

Calloway, 24, was convicted of attempted accessory after the fact of capital murder and hindering prosecution on May 3, 2017 for her roles in the 2015 shooting deaths of the two officers. 

Deen and Tate were killed May 9, 2015 during a traffic stop in downtown Hattiesburg. 

She appeared Tuesday before Forrest County Circuit Court Judge Bob Helfrich with a motion for a new trial.  

"We believe that there were errors by the court that caused Ms. Calloway to not receive a fair trial," said public defender Andres Wallace, representing Calloway. "Ms. Calloway did not receive a fair and partial trial, and with that we ask for a new trial." 

Assistant District Attorney DeCarlo Hood was on hand to argue the motions for the state. 

"The facts were clear, the video (dashcam) speaks for itself," Assistant District Attorney DeCarlo Hood said. "We think this motion is unfounded, the jury listened to the case and the evidence speaks for itself." 

Wallace said there were numerous objections which were overruled during the trial, that he said caused issues. 

"Aaron Thomas should not have been allowed to testify," Wallace said. 

Wallace spoke about one of the witnesses that testified during the trial, who was a best friend to Marvin Banks, the alleged trigger man in the murders. 

"His deal he made prior to the trial...We asked to enter into exhibit the certified sworn plea petition of Thomas, we were not able to introduce that, we believe that was an error," Wallace said.

"Aaron Thomas' testimony was so limited in the trial," Helfrich said. "You knew what he was going to testify to, so I don't see that as a surprise to you at all." 

Helfrich addressed the court regarding matters of the trial. 

"I thought initially the state may have overcharged Ms. Calloway in this case, but after seeing the video and hearing the testimony I no longer have those feelings," Helfrich said. "She could have prevented this...Instead of standing there with Deen at the back of the car with her arms crossed, she could have said he has a gun and prevented this tragedy." 

"For these reasons I am denying your motion," Helfrich said. 

Calloway was escorted out by deputies and transported back to the Forrest County Jail awaiting her transfer into MDOC custody, she will be serving a 25 year sentence. 

Additional suspects yet to stand trial: 

Douglas McPhail, Anquanette Alexander, and Brodrick Varnado were all set to stand trial May 11, 2017, but those have been continued. 

Alexander and McPhail are charged with first-degree hindering prosecution and conspiracy. McPhail is accused of conspiring with Alexander to hide, dispose or conceal physical evidence in the case. He remains free on a $15,000 bond, and Alexander remains free on a $15,000 bond. 

Varnado was charged with accessory after the fact of capital murder and possession of a weapon by a convicted felon. According to court records, he allegedly hid the murder weapon after the crime. He is free on $90,000 bond. 

Cornelius Clark is charged with first-degree hindering prosecution and was the third person in Calloway's vehicle. He had psychiatric evaluation ordered to determine whether he is able to stand trial. The report has not yet been returned to the court. 

Suspects sentenced: 

The alleged trigger man Marvin Banks died of heart disease while in custody at the Forrest County Jail. 

His brother, Curtis Banks, pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact of capital murder, and was sentenced to 20 years. 

Abram Pete Franklin was charged with first-degree hindering prosecution after he allegedly hid Curtis in his attic to avoid/elude arrest. His case was transferred to the 15th Circuit Court District Attorneys office for prosecution. 

Jimmy "Jimbo" Brady pleaded guilty and is serving a 5-year sentence for possession  of a stolen weapon, which was the murder weapon he sold to Marvin.