Meridian Star

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June 4, 2014

Willie gets life sentence for highway slaying

SARDIS, Miss. — Thirty-two-year-old James D. Willie has been convicted of fatally shooting a Nebraska man along a North Mississippi highway in 2012.

A jury Tuesday in Panola County Circuit Court convicted Willie of murder in the shooting death of Thomas K. Schlender.

The Commercial Appeal reports ( ) Willie was sentenced to life in prison by Circuit Judge Jimmy McClure

Prosecutors say the 74-year-old Schlender, of Raymond, Nebraska, was found on May 8, 2012. He had been shot inside his 1999 Ford F-150, which was located in the median of southbound Interstate 55 near Pope, Mississippi.

Authorities say Schlender was traveling to Florida to pick up his grandson from college.


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