DA, mayor disagree on tape of confession

Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith said his office doesn’t have an audiotaped confession of the Jackson man accused of shooting into a crowd Memorial Day, killing a teen and wounding four others.

Jackson Mayor Frank Melton said he turned over a cell-phone recording of Joseph Bennett and another person to Jackson police Lt. Joe Wade.

During his preliminary hearing Monday in Hinds County Court, the lead detective, David Domino, said there is no audiotaped confession of Bennett.

But Melton said Domino may not know about the tape, since he gave it to Wade.

Wade would neither confirm nor deny the existence of a tape. He would say only that all evidence will be turned over to the district attorney’s office to seek an indictment against Bennett.

Bennett’s attorney, Assistant Public Defender Matthew Eichelberger, doesn’t believe there is a tape.

“In my experience, Detective Domino has been a thorough and competent detective. If JPD has custody of an audiotaped confession from Joe Bennett, Detective Domino, being the lead investigator, would know about it,” Eichelberger said. “Frank Melton, on the other hand, has given us all every reason to question his statements and his motives. There is no audiotaped confession, and that’s the bottom line.”

Smith said whether there is or isn’t a tape, his office is prepared to prosecute Bennett for killing Cordarel Brown, 18, of Jackson and the wounding of four others.

Clarion Ledger
6/19/8