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Mississippi Highway Killer James Willie Pleads Guilty To 2012 Murder; Now Serving 2 Life Sentences

PANOLA COUNTY, Miss. (localmemphis.com) - Mississippi Highway Killer James Willie has pleaded guilty to murder in the death of a Nebraska man in Panola County in 2012.

Thomas Schlender, 74, was shot and killed while driving down I-55 in Panola County in May 2012. Willie was originally tried and convicted in 2014 or the murder, but the Mississippi Supreme Court reversed the conviction, and a new trial was set to begin Monday, Jan. 22, 2018.

Thursday, Willie pleaded guilty to the murder charge in Schlender’s case. He was immediately sentenced to life in prison.

Willie was also convicted in fall of 2017 of the Tunica County murder of a DeSoto County woman. Lori Anne Carswell, a casino worker was found dead near her car on Highway 713 in Tunica County in May 2012.

Willie is already serving a life sentence in the Carswell case. Thursday's guilty plea means Willie is now serving two life sentences for the murders.


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