PANOLA COUNTY, Miss.-- In Panola County, Mississippi, a jury has found James Willie guilty shooting and killing Raymond, Neb. man Tom Schlender back in May of 2012. Schlender's family was in courtroom waiting for decision.
Accused murderer James Willie took the stand Tuesday and denied killing Schlender. Willie was sentenced to life in prison by Circuit Judge Jimmy McClure
Schlender was on his way to Florida, passing through Mississippi on Interstate 55, when he was gunned down by Willie.
At one point the case was a death penalty case, but prosecutors stopped pursuing that and opted for murder alone.
On Monday, the prosecution called several witnesses to the stand to testify, including crime scene investigators. Shell casings and the weapon allegedly used in the killing were shown to the jury.
Tuesday, the case was handed over to the 12 member jury.
In court Willie dressed in a suit and tie, but was surrounded by police officers and wearing a device that would incapacitate him, if he tried to flee.
Some members of the Schlender family made the 770 mile road trip to the Batesville courthouse.