FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jackson, MS—Two Jones County residents are going to jail for crimes against vulnerable persons, announces Attorney General Jim Hood.
Nicholas Barnes, age 22, of Taylorsville, and Alex Walker, age 24, of Hattiesburg, appeared before Judge Billy Joe Landrum in Jones County Circuit Court Tuesday. Barnes pleaded guilty to one count of exploitation and was sentenced to five years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections with four years suspended, one year to serve, with four years post release supervision. He was also ordered to pay a $500 fine, court costs of $382.50, $250 to the Victim’s Compensation Fund, $700 to the Attorney General’s Office for investigative costs and restitution of $387. Additionally, he must complete the 18th Circuit Court District’s Community Service Program. Walker pleaded guilty to one count each of felony abuse and obstruction of justice. For each offense, Walker was sentenced to five years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections with three years suspended, two years to serve and three years post release supervision. He was also ordered to pay a $1,000 fine, court costs of $765 and a $1,000 reimbursement to Jones County for use of a public defender. Walker must also complete the 18th Circuit Court District’s Community Service Program. The two sentences are to run concurrently.
Barnes, who was working at Pecan Grove care facility in Ellisville, admitted to stealing a 26” flat screen television from the room of a resident and later selling it. When questioned by an investigator with the Attorney General’s Office, Barnes said he did it because he was struggling financially. Walker, who was employed as a Direct Care Worker at Pecan Grove care facility in Ellisville, was handling a severely disabled resident who had become uncooperative. Walker confessed to striking the resident in the face with his hands and fists thereby inflicting severe pain and injury upon the resident . Walker then obstructed justice by attempting to bribe another resident to tell the authorities that he (the other resident) had actually assaulted the victim.
“We see way too many of these cases and, for as long as we do, we will continue our fight to prosecute those who prey on our state’s most vulnerable residents,” said Attorney General Hood. “Judge Landrum sent a clear message that elder abusers will go to jail.”
The case was investigated by Jamie Patrick and prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Garland Lyell of the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.