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James Kelly sentenced to life in prison

James Kelly as he was escorted from the courthouse following the guilty verdict Nov. 16, 2021.
James Kelly as he was escorted from the courthouse following the guilty verdict Nov. 16, 2021.(WTOK)
Published: Dec. 1, 2021 at 5:27 PM CST
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DECATUR, Miss. (WTOK) - James Kelly was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison without parole in the death of Demarquis Houston, whose body was found in a pond in Neshoba County in February of 2020.

A jury found Kelly guilty of capital murder Nov. 16 but the death penalty was not considered. That left the sentencing to a judge, whose only option under Mississippi law was to impose life without parole.

Four other people are already serving prison time in connection with Houston’s death. Officials say Houston was killed in October 2019. His body wasn’t found until Feb. 15, 2020.

The sentencing was held in Decatur because the 8th Circuit Court District had other business in Newton County Wednesday.

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