Attorneys for Dave Ware have pulled out the nuclear option asking Judge Coleman to rule in his favor and uphold the jury's original 9 to 3 verdict or to rule on the law and issue his own directed verdict in Ware's Favor. Judge Coleman read the jury's verdict, awarding the mayor's race to Ware, but one female juror switched her vote after the judge polled the jurors in open court. Earlier in the day Dupree Attorney Jim Dukes gave an ominous closing statement addressing two Forrest General Employees, reminding them that he is the hospital's legal counsel. Additionally Chief Deputy Charles "Plukey" Bolton, a close friend of Mr. Dukes also sits on the board of the hospital, stared at the jurors intensely during the public polling process.
Dupree's group of pastorial supporters associated with the loosely based group Hattiesburg Ministerial Coalition are soliciting other black churches to raise $1000.00 for Dupree's Legal Fund or Campaign Fund, depending on Judge Coleman's ruling. They are preparing for a new election, but it is more likely that the judge will uphold and ratify the original verdict; especially with the specter of intimidation being a deciding factor for the deciding juror.
So far Sheriff Billy McGee has remained silent regarding his good friend and Chief Deputy. Forrest General Hospital continues to keep Chief Deputy Bolton on its board and Jim Dukes as legal council in spite of a public outcry on Facebook to remove these individuals from the position they allegedly abused to intimidate jurors. When the Hattiesburg Patriot called District Attorney Patricia Burchill and asked about the possible prosecution of election crimes, alleged witness retaliation by Chief Bolton, and attempted witness tampering, Burchill said, "There will be a thorough investigation into these matters."
Readers who feel that Sheriff McGee and Forrest General Hospital should put Chief Deputy Charles Bolton or Jim Dukes Sr. on leave can contact the Forrest County Board of Supervisors at the following numbers:
Forrest County Sheriffs Department(601) 544-7800
Board of Supervisors:
David Hogan, District 1 (601) 545-6009
Charles Marshall, District 2 (601) 545-6010
Burkett Ross, District 3 (601) 545-6008
Rod Woullard, District 4 (601) 545-6011 <----Don't waste your time with this one. He's part of the problem
Chris Bowen, District 5 (601) 545-6091
Forrest General President Evan Dillard 601-288-7000 (Randy Swan's wife is the PR person for Forrest General Hospital. WDAM won't cover this angle to the story as a result of that relationship)