DESOTO COUNTY, MS (abc24.com) - James Willie's case hasn't gone to trial, but he's already accruing jail time. He could get the death penalty for allegedly shooting and killing two people on state roads in May.
He was on parole when cops say he committed those murders and a rape. A judge ruled Thursday morning to revoke that parole. Investigators want to be sure Willie stays behind bars, no matter the outcome of his upcoming trials.
In 2002 Willie was sentenced to 15 years for burglary, but had been paroled two years later. The judge revoking that parole means he'll serve five years behind bars even if he isn't convicted of the murders and the rape.
"I'm innocent until proven guilty," Willie said on his way out of the courthouse. "In some cases you're guilty 'til proven innocent."
James Willie says he had "absolutely nothing" to do with the two murders and rape he's accused of committing.
Willie was arrested for kidnapping and assaulting a woman in Tunica last May.
Cops say he fired a gun during the rape; shell casings from the weapon found at the rape scene match those from the gun used to murder another woman on a Tunica highway and a man in Panola County.
"When placed on probation there's a list of things you're prohibited from doing," says District Attorney John Champion. "One of them is committing new crimes."
Another is owning a gun. In court, Willie acted as his own lawyer and admitted he owned the weapon.
"That's enough right there to revoke parole," Champion says. "He is a convicted felon."
Willie spent several minutes explaining why he had the murder weapon. He says he bought the gun a week before being arrested to protect himself from the highway shooter. He claims he test fired it and picked up the shell casings. He believes they fell out of his pocket the night of the rape incident, which he claims was consensual sex.
"He's a habitual liar," Champion tells abc24.com. "That's all there is to it. What you heard in the court room was a tall tale."
Willie has been indicted for the rape and one murder in Tunica County. His trial begins in October. The other murder case will be presented to the Panola County grand jury next week.