Husband gets life

By Brian Livingston

Ronald Husband, 48, was ordered by a Lauderdale County jury Monday night to spend the rest of his life in prison without chance for parole.

The two life sentences were handed down Monday at about 6:30 p.m. during the sentencing phase of Husband's capital murder trial in Meridian. The jury deliberated for just over an hour.

Husband was convicted Saturday of two counts of capital murder in the 2005 shooting deaths of two Wiggins police officers. Patrolmen Odell Fite, 48, and Brandon Breland, 23, died from gunshot wounds after they responded to a domestic violence call at a Wiggins home. Husband, while resisting arrest, managed to wrench away one of the officer's guns in which he used to shoot and kill both men.

The proceedings, which had gone into their sixth day, had many turns and twists but none more dramatic than what occurred Monday morning.

District 2 Circuit Court Judge Roger T. Clark was handed a note from one of the jurors who two days earlier had led the jury as the foreperson in rendering the two guilty verdicts. The note from the female juror stated she was rethinking her vote in the decision after reconsidering the evidence produced during the trial.

Husband's lead defense attorney, Allison Steiner, tried vigorously to persuade the judge to declare a mistrial but upon hearing prosecutor Chris Schmidt's views on the issue, Clark decided to deny the motion.

"Even though a juror now has second thoughts about her participation in the verdict, the verdict was rendered, it has been entered into court records and accepted by the circuit court clerk," Clark said. "She was polled along with all the other jurors at the time of the verdict and at no time did she voice any concerns."

After a short meeting with the juror, Clark dismissed her from the jury for the penalty phase of the proceedings. Two other jurors were also dismissed for personal reasons unrelated to the note and the former foreperson.

Two alternate jurors took their places effectively filling out the jury box.

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