• Mon. May 16th, 2022

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3 sentenced for helping suspect flee after officer killed

Three men have been sentenced for helping a 19-year-old accused of killing a Mississippi police officer get away after the officer was shot from behind in 2019

BILOXI, Miss. — Three men were sentenced Monday for helping a 19-year-old accused of killing a Mississippi police officer get away after the officer was shot from behind in 2019.

A judge ordered 20-year sentences on Monday for all three, but suspended part of the sentences for two brothers of the man accused of walking up behind Officer Robert McKeithen and shooting him, news outlets reported.

Wanya Toquest Atkinson, 23, his brother Davian Lewanika Atkinson, 24, and Andre Anderson Sullivan, 20, pleaded guilty last year to being accessories after the fact to capital murder.

Judge Christopher Schmidt also ordered five years of post-release supervision for each and fined each $2,000, but suspended half of Wanya Atkinson’s fine.

The Atkinsons’ brother Darian, who was 19 at the time of the killings, is charged with capital murder but is awaiting a second set of mental examinations.

His attorneys contend he is not competent to stand trial. His mother told The Associated Press after the killing that he had recently developed mental problems.

In a statement read by Assistant District Attorney Ian Baker, Pam McKeithen said the men could earn her forgiveness for her husband’s death by passing high school equivalency tests, learning a trade in prison and staying away from crime.

“I was very, very angry at everyone in the beginning. I am still angry but now for different reasons,” she wrote, according to the Sun Herald. “I am angry that you all had no idea what you were getting yourself into that night.”

And, she wrote, “I appreciate all of you making the right choice now — accepting responsibility for your part.”

Schmidt suspended 10 years of Wanya Atkinson’s sentence and 5 years of Davian Atkinson’s.

Sullivan also was sentenced to 15 years for armed robbery in a separate case. He and others were accused of taking nude pictures of women, posting the photos on dating sites and then robbing customers who paid to have sex with them.

The judge suspended 10 years of that sentence, WLOX-TV reported.

His attorney had asked for a lighter sentence, saying Sullivan had been young and made poor choices of friends, the Sun Herald reported.