The purpose of this website is to bring the facts of a Mississippi capital murder case to public attention. Cory Maye is on Death Row, sentenced to death by lethal injection for killing a police officer. He claims he did not know the night time intruder was a police officer. Other officers claim they did announce themselves as police before going in. However, a police officer arresting the target of the night time raid in the interior of the adjoining duplex testified that he could not hear these officers make any such announcement.
The case is awaiting appeal, with a hearing scheduled for Feb. 27, 2006.
The authors of this web page will accumulate all available factual records and court documents, and put complete unedited copies of them on the this web site. Readers will have a resource by which they can judge for themselves the actual background facts in what appears to be a great miscarriage of justice.
A word of caution is in order. If you choose to read the trial transcripts, they spell out in black and white the injustices that have occurred to Mr. Cory Maye. Although they are not difficult to read, they are not pleasant to read either. I encourage you to actually read them for a very simple reason. You will know what actually happened. And it will be more interesting than the same time spent watching Fox News or CNN.
Thanks for spending a few minutes of your day reading about this case.
Details of the Case
Cory Maye shot and killed a police officer when that officer burst into his home on December 26, 2001. Cory lived in one side of a duplex. On the other side was a certain Mr. Jamie Smith. In a surprise midnight raid, the officers stormed Smith’s side. A local police officer, Ron Jones, went around to break in the other side of the building, into the other unit of the duplex. And on that side lived Cory Jermaine Maye.
Maye was awakened from sleep by the commotion at the door, went into the bedroom and fired at an intruder. This was after the intruder had broken down the back door and entered the living room, and was coming toward the bedroom. The officer was hit by one .380 caliber bullet in the abdomen. He staggered back out of the apartment and died some hours later.
Search warrants had been procured by the police for the side containing Smith, naming him by name. For the side containing Maye the search warrant just said “unknown occupants”. Police statements indicate that Maye and was not the target of the raid. Maye claimed he fired in self defense at intruders fearing for himself and his 18 month old daughter. The man he killed, Officer Ron Jones, was the son of the police chief of Prentiss, Mississippi.
Maye was convicted in 2004 by a jury comprised of ten whites and two blacks. He was sentenced to death by lethal injection.
A rather comprehensive comilation of the story of Cory Maye has been put in the Current Events section of the Wikipedia online encyclopedia. The story is on the web due to the perseverence of Radney Balko, arthor of the blog The Agitator and a member of the Cato Institute.
Why is this case important?
This case is not of much interest to the mainstream media because it is related to sensitive political subjects, the drug war and police enforcement tactics during the era of the war on terrorism.
It’s an easy case to misunderstand. Some might think to be “hard on crime” we have to err on the side of giving police the benefit of the doubt, and a wide latitude in their enforcement capabilities. They might conjecture that some level of “civilian causulties” is an inevitable but justifiable side effect of the “War on Drugs”.
Anyone who reads about this case will conjecture as to the events, try to visualize them and try, in his or her mind, to guess at how it could have happened. Some will err on the side of the police having been right, and some will add up the facts and err on the side of Maye. I would caution against making a judgement on this case in such a rapid fire fashion.
That sort of snap judgement is what one is led to by filtered, sifted, predigested, and encapsulated information. That typifies much of what the public is fed, often by people with some sort of agenda. If not an agenda, many nonetheless have certain interests in possible outcomes.
Police and the county judicial system in Prentiss have created this situation, because they hold the documents relative to the case. Yet those are public records. And those records should be on the Internet, so that everybody can read them and intelligently reach their own conclusion. Think about it. You don’t need the media telling you what is right, and you certainly don’t need some grieving police chief in Prentiss, who has lost his son in an unfortunate accident, telling you.
Bad things happen sometimes, and it’s largely how we handle them that determines what sense of humanity we exhibit.
“He killed a cop so he must be guilty” may be good enough for the District Attorney who determined to go for capital murder charges. And in the absence of any witnesses for the defense, with a defense attorney who had apparently never had experience with a capital murder case, the DA had an easy job convincing the jury to apply the death penalty.
In the past these type of cases were quietly buried and forgotten after a few years. Let’s see if that’s good enough for the people that read about and digest this case on the Internet.