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Necaise Is Convicted On Kidnapping Count

By David Howell

COFFEEVILLE – Darryl Necaise of Coffeeville will be sentenced in Batesville Friday for kidnapping.

    Necaise’s sentencing by Judge Andrew Baker followed a three-day trial in Coffeeville. Jurors found Necaise guilty and heard testimony which revealed a horrendous ordeal suffered by the victim, Lawrence Covington.

    Covington testified that during his captivity Necaise had probed for a bullet in his leg with needle nose pliers and shocked him with an electric cattle prod.

    The jury hung on a second charge of aggravated assault for Necaise’s role in Covington’s May 2007 shooting. Two other men, Chris Longstreet and Jay Warren, also face charges in the shooting.

    Jury selection consumed much the trial’s opening day Monday, May 19. The day ended with opening statements. Tuesday morning began with three witnesses – Covington, Warren and Yalobusha Sheriff’s Department Investigator John Camfield – testifying for District Attorney John Champion, who prosecuted the case. Covington told the jury that on the day of the shooting he went to Necaise’s house to pay a drug debt, but he did not have the money. He testified that Longstreet took him to Calhoun County to try and get the money from his boss, but the trip was unsuccessful.

    When they arrived back at Necaise’s house, Covington testified that he took off running after Necaise pushed him off the porch.  Two shots were fired, either by Necaise or Longstreet, who was also standing on the porch. The bullet struck Covington in the back of the leg, breaking his femur.

    Covington then described the ordeal of torture that followed during the next three days. He testified he was placed in a chicken barn on Necaise’s property from Friday morning until  Sunday.

    During court, Covington described the three-day imprisonment and how he convinced his captors to let him go, saying he would tell authorities he had shot himself.

    Covington told the court that at one point, during his first night in the barn, Necaise put a pistol to his head. Covington began to pray, reciting a familiar psalm from the Bible.

    Covington then told the jury that Necaise asked Longstreet, who was also in the barn, if he was reciting a real Bible verse.

    Longstreet’s answer, according to Covington, was that he did not know.

    At this point Necaise apparently became angry and shot a chicken in the barn, killing it, according to Covington.

    “Look what you made me do,” Necaise said as the chicken lay dead.

    Covington then testified that Necaise instructed Longstreet to got get a chainsaw.

    “It is a shame we don’t still have the wood chipper,” Necaise told Covington.


Playing Doctor

    The rage apparently subsided, and Necaise then attempted to remove the bullet, according to the victim’s testimony.

    As Covington writhed with pain when Necaise jabbed in the wound with a pair of needle-nose pliers, he was shocked with a cattle prod and told the be still.

    Covington’s testimony was collaborated when Warren took the stand. Warren has been charged with accessory after the fact and kidnapping for his alleged involvement during the ordeal.

    Warren told the jury he took Covington water while he was imprisoned in the barn. He also told a bizarre story, explaining that he moved Covington out of the barn for several hours the first night.

    Necaise had instructed him to move the victim so that Necaise’s children could gather eggs from the barn. Covington was placed in an abandoned vehicle for almost three hours by Warren.


Free At Last

    Covington testified he was transported to Memphis in his own car by Necaise, where he was left on an exit ramp. The victim told the jury the noise of a passing eighteen-wheeler woke him up, and he managed to drive to the bottom of the exit ramp, where two men stopped.

    Using his uninjured leg, Covington testified that he drove his car to a nearby hospital, following the two men that stopped to help him. From there, he was transported to the Regional Medical Center where he received medical treatment.

    “They called us when Covington began talking,” Sheriff Lance Humphreys said about the arrest last year.

    The final day of trial, last Wednesday, the prosecution rested and Necaise’s defense attorney, Donald Rafferty , decided to rest without presenting a defense.

    Remarks from Rafferty came only during closing arguments when he told the jury that Daryl Necaise had saved Lawrence Covington’s life. The attorney described a scene in which Necaise was an innocent bystander and tried to help Covington after he was shot by Longstreet.

    Rafferty also argued that Covington was only held in the barn one day.

    The jury began deliberations just after 11 a.m. Wednesday morning and returned a verdict several hours later.

Could Face 30 Years

    “We were pleased with the outcome,” Humphreys said about the conviction. “He could be sentenced up to 30 years.”

    Necaise had also been charged with mayhem and two counts of possession of stolen property, but the district attorney chose only to prosecute kidnapping and aggravated assault, according to the sheriff.

    Law enforcement officials speculated that the jury hung on the aggravated assault charge because Covington did not actually see if Necaise or Longstreet pulled the trigger.

    “The acts of one are the acts of all,” Humphreys said, indicating that Necaise had been charged with aggravated assault for his role in the shooting, even if did not pull the trigger.

    Necaise is currently in the Yalobusha County Jail awaiting sentencing Friday by Judge Baker. He also has a narcotics charge stemming from an undercover drug buy made by county law enforcement prior to the May, 2007 shooting.

    Longstreet and Warren are both waiting for their day in court from the incident.

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