Prosecutors: Police ordered officials’ cars burned

Two police officers in the Mississippi Delta recruited a man to burn the cars of two city aldermen, and one of the officers even provided the gasoline to do it, federal prosecutors said in court papers.

Michael Guyton, who allegedly set fire to three cars, was arraigned Tuesday and pleaded not guilty to a federal indictment for allegedly torching vehicles belonging to Shelby aldermen Dan Harris and Harold Billings, according to court records. His trial was set for March 8 in U.S. District Court in Greenville.

Barry Smith, a Shelby police officer, was indicted in the case last year and pleaded not guilty. His trial is set for Feb. 21 in U.S. District Court in Aberdeen.

Smith allegedly provided the gasoline to Guyton and his accomplices, according to court records. Another officer, who wasn’t identified, allegedly drove Guyton in a police car to the homes of Harris and Billings to show him which cars to burn.

Clarion-Ledger
1/21/10