The brother of Willie Cory Godbolt, on trial for allegedly gunning down eight people in a Memorial Day weekend rampage in 2017, testified that Godbolt threatened to kill him too as he took a car while running from authorities.
Godbolt’s brother, Ken Godbolt, told jurors in the sixth day of testimony that he was with extended family members at his aunt Elnora’s house in Bogue Chitto on the night of May 27, which is when Godbolt allegedly killed seven of his friends and relatives and a sheriff’s deputy during an apparent custody dispute.
Ken Godbolt said he received word of the shooting that had taken place earlier at Cory Godbolt’s now-ex-wife Sheena May’s parents’ house on Lee Drive in Bogue Chitto and rushed over to the property.
He encountered numerous law enforcement officers at the scene, including Lincoln County Sheriff Steve Rushing.
Ken Godbolt testified that he made two calls to Cory Godbolt in the presence of Rushing, who was listening in. The first call went unanswered, but Cory Godbolt picked up the phone on the second attempt.
In that call, he did not indicate where he was.
Ken Godbolt soon received a call from his brother Chris Godbolt, who told him to return to his aunt’s house.
Ken Godbolt testified that soon after his arrival, Cory Godbolt pulled up in a car with a younger man in the driver’s seat.
Ken said he met Cory Godbolt outside the front door and his brother pointed an assault rifle at him, demanded car keys and said, “You have five seconds before I kill everybody in there.”
Ken Godbolt said he waited until Cory Godbolt reached the count of two before he dashed into the house, retrieved keys to his aunt’s car and gave them to Cory. Ken said he heard Cory’s gun “click” as he ran inside in search of the keys.
Another brother, Chris Godbolt, testified that he was alerted about the shootings when receiving a text message from a cousin, and drove to the Lee Drive home of Cory’s in-laws to get more information. He said he unsuccessfully tried to reach Cory Godbolt by phone.
Chris Godbolt said he saw Shon and Tiffany Blackwell at the Lee Drive residence when Shon Blackwell received a call notifying him that Cory Godbolt was at Blackwell’s house on Coopertown Road, where Austin Edwards and Blackwell’s son Jordan were shot dead.
Chris Godbolt said he finally contacted Cory the next morning and Cory Godbolt said he was at the East Lincoln Road home of Ferral and Sheila Burrage and said Sheila Burrage was dead. Chris said he urged his brother to surrender.
In other testimony Thursday, crime scene investigator Terrance Packer of the Mississippi Highway Patrol testified that he found several weapons, scores of spent bullet casings and a lot of blood in the Burrage’s home.
Packer said he took photos of the property, performed a walk-through with officials from the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation and found dozens of spent shell casings in addition to two .40-caliber handguns and two long guns.
He testified he found blood splattered throughout the home and a lot of ballistic damage to the interior garage entrance door that leads to the master bedroom of the home, where he discovered the body of Ferral Burrage.
Packer said he discovered the body of Sheila Burrage inside the master bathroom. He said the door to the bathroom had been broken in and had numerous bullet holes.
Guns recovered from the scene included a .300-caliber Blackout long gun, an AK-47-style long gun and two .40-caliber Smith & Wesson pistols. Officials had marked one long gun and one handgun as “biohazards” because they had what Packer called “possible blood” on them.
Henry Bracey of Bogue Chitto said he was at his home with his uncle Alfred when Godbolt pulled up, pointed two assault rifles at them and demanded Bracey hand over the keys to his 2016 Kia Forte.
Bracey said a young man he did not know had driven Godbolt to the home. On Wednesday, Xavier Lilly testified that he was hanging out with murder victims Austin Edwards, 11, and Jordan Blackwell, 18, when Godbolt shot them and commanded him to drive him around.
Bracey’s wife Wykeshia testified that Godbolt ordered her to retrieve the keys to the Kia. She tried calling 911 and Godbolt became agitated because she was taking too long to return with the keys.
With Lincoln County sheriff’s dispatcher Abby Thornton on the stand, prosecutors played a recording of the 911 call between Thornton and Angela Hardy, who reported the shootings of the Burrages.
Hardy told Thornton she was on the phone with Sheila Burrage when Godbolt apparently entered the home and began firing.
In other testimony, the state called 51 Pawn and Gun owner Ryan Strange, of Bogue Chitto. Strange testified he sold Willie Cory Godbolt two guns in 2017 and a third to his ex-wife, Sheena. He also sold one handgun to victim Ferrell Burage.
Strange said he performs a background check according to federal law on any potential buyer, and that there were no items in Sheena or Cory's backgrounds' that would render them ineligible to purchase a firearm.
Strange testified two bills of sale, one for a Smith & Wesson .40 caliber handgun, purchased by Godbolt Jan. 19 of 2017 and recovered by investigators at the scene of the East Lincoln Road shooting.
Strange also testified Godbolt purchased a Serbian 7.62 x .39 rifle on Jan. 20 and Sheena May purchased a .300 caliber blackout long rifle on Jan. 28. Strange testified he and his employees screen potential buyers for signs of coercion or intoxication, and that Sheena did not exhibit any of those signs.
The trial continued today but will be suspended Saturday for Magnolia’s Mardi Gras celebration.