New trial set for Mississippi man in 2-year-old's death

Justin Blakeney (Source: Mississippi Department of Corrections)

LAUREL, Miss. (WDAM) - A Jones County man convicted of capital murder in the 2010 death of a 2-year-old will be retried in September in Neshoba County.

Eighteenth District Circuit Court Judge Dal Williamson signed off on a defense motion that requested a change of venue.

The retrial of Justin Blakeney is now set to open Sept. 9 in Philadelphia in the Eighth Circuit Court District.

In July 2014, the then 26-year-old Blakeney was convicted by an imported Greene County jury of murdering Victoria Viner, the daughter of his then-girlfriend, Lidia Viner.

After receiving the verdict, Blakeney was sentenced to death.

But in November 2017, the Mississippi Supreme Court reversed the decision and remanded the case back to the 18th District for retrial.

The court ruled that Blakeney’ had been denied “opportunity to present a complete defense by allowing evidence and testimony obtained from informants, working as “state agents,” was provided potentially pertinent information in an untimely fashion and was subject to prosecutorial misconduct.