Twillie Gets New Hearing

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Carlos Twillie won a new sentencing hearing Tuesday, but prosecutors will now have the option of seeking the death penalty for Twillie's role in a murder that occurred during a burglary in Jasper County.

The state Court of Appeals says Twillie's sentence of life without parole was illegal because that option did not exist in Mississippi's capital murder law when Twillie was indicted in 1994.

Twillie pleaded guilty to capital murder in January 1996 and in a plea bargain was sentenced to life without parole.

The Appeals Court says life without parole became an option in the capital murder statute in July 1994. Inmates indicted before that date were not subject to the penalty.

Twillie and Mickey Jerome Walton were arrested in the death of Jack Thornton during the burglary of Thornton's home in Jasper County.

Walton pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced to life in prison. Twillie filed a post conviction petition in 2002 claiming he was improperly sentenced. A Jasper County judge denied the petition. Lee says the illegality of the sentence made his case an exception.