By Gabriel Perry
On the third day of testimony in the May 2017 murder trial of Willie Cory Godbolt, jurors heard testimony from a crime scene technician who responded to the shootings in Bogue Chitto, a Lincoln County tactical deputy, Godbolt’s daughter and the niece of Godbolt’s ex-wife Sheena.
Mississippi Bureau of Investigation technician Anna Savrock said she recovered about 35 shell casings from the scene of the first shooting that ended in the death of Lincoln County Sheriff’s Deputy William Durr and three of Sheena Godbolt’s relatives.
Savrock said many of the casings came from three types of ammunition: 7.62, .40 caliber and .300 caliber. She found signs of bullet damage inside and outside the trailer, located in a rural area in Bogue Chitto.
Savrock testified about a video, taken by an MBI investigator, that shows the extent of damage inside and outside the trailer of Sheena Godbolt’s parents, located on Lee Drive.
Godbolt buried his face into his hands during Savrock’s testimony, refusing to watch the screen as it displayed graphic and violent images taken from the scene of the crime. Twice, members of the audience requested to leave the Pike County Circuit Courtroom in Magnolia.
The inside of the trailer was in a state of disarray. Inside were the bodies of three female victims; Brenda May, 52, Barbara Mitchell, 55, and Toccora May, 34. All died of gunshot wounds and were found in different areas of the trailer.
Savrock also testified several vehicles on the property, including three civilian cars and a Lincoln County squad car, appeared to show signs of ballistic damage. She also found the two canisters of tear gas fired into the home by SWAT responders.
Lincoln County Sheriff’s Deputy William Durr was found face-down on the floor on the partition between the kitchen and living room.
Savrock said the collection of evidence was performed in a way she would not normally prefer. She said impending rain forced her to pause evidence collection within the house in order to collect evidence outside in an attempt to safeguard all evidence from weather.
Under cross-examination, defense attorney Alison Steiner asked why Savrock’s investigation was so unusual, an statement Savrock said is not accurate and doesn’t reflect the complexity of a crime scene.
“It was a challenge,” she said.
“And that challenge transfered over to when you wrote your final report,” Steiner said after noticing a casing was marked evidence #19 on one document and #20 on another.
“I will be told if a scene has been altered, but to me it’s irrelevant how,” Savrock said. “It’s my job to document it.”
Savrock said evidence collected outside the trailer included spent shell casings of various types, cell phones, a hat, a red duffel bag from the back of Godbolt’s Buick station wagon and “a lot of ballistic evidence,” or bullet holes.
Recovered from the scene, and believed to belong to Lincoln County Sheriff’s Deputy Timothy Kees, who was the second law enforcement officer to respond to the scene, was a Gen 4 Glock 17 pistol with 10 rounds in the magazine and one round left in the chamber. Savrock said Durr’s weapon had one fully-loaded magazine with one round in the chamber. She said his holster was locked, indicating he did not attempt to use it, but his canister of pepper spray was found open. He was wearing a bullet-proof vest when he was shot, she said.
Savrock said she recovered a red duffel bag from Godbolt’s station wagon that contained numerous loose rounds of ammunition in addition to plastic tactical round-holders and a box of .40 caliber live rounds.
In other testimony:
• Godbolt’s daughter My’Khyiah, nicknamed Bubbles, testified about her father’s history of violence against her mother, and said she feared him. She said Godbolt always kept a gun on him and had been viewing videos about firing and reloading guns on the day leading up to the all-night rampage through Bogue Chitto and Brookhaven.
“He was very mean,” she said. “He always hit my mom in front of me and he always used to hit me with a bat. ... He would punch her, slap her, do anything that could harm her.”
Godbolt was visibly upset while listening to her testimony, appearing to physically pine toward her.
She said she’d seen her father put a knife to her mother’s throat and feared his violent temper. She said he beat her with a plastic bat for refusing to practice softball as long as he had wanted.
• Lincoln County Sheriff’s Investigator Andrew Montgomery painted a portrait of a chaotic scene on Lee Drive, and testified he fired canisters of tear gas into the home in an attempt to take Godbolt into custody. He later learned Godbolt had left the property.
Montgomery said he arrived after receiving a call around midnight, stopped at the end of the driveway and put on tactical equipment before approaching the house. He said he arrived within 10 minutes of receiving notification.
He said he approached the scene as an armed and barricaded subject, and moved a Lincoln County squad car into a protective position near the rear door of the trailer.
Montgomery testified he heard over police radio that another shooting had taken place on nearby Coopertown Road and Godbolt was named as a suspect.
• Sheena May’s niece, Tamarya May, said she watched in shock and horror from outside the residence as she heard an untold number of shots fired.
She testified she witnessed Godbolt firing his pistol, reloading it, entering the trailer and shooting again and then retrieving a rifle from his car, parked outside the trailer.
Tamarya May called 911 while hiding on the floor of a nearby sedan as what she assumed was a gun fight between Godbolt and law enforcement officers was playing out. Testimony has indicated that the shots were exchanged between Godbolt and Kees.