The couple charged with the murder of local business owner Ricky Saxton will head to court for their trials in August.
Judge Jannie Lewis arraigned both Johnny Mack Brown and his wife Shontina Brown earlier this week.
“The defendants will be able to get their appointed attorneys if they need them or they can bring forth their own hired attorneys,” said Circuit Clerk Robert Coleman. “For now, a court date has been issued for the trial. The trial has not started. This was merely their arraignment day.”
The trial of Shontina Brown, 23, will begin on Aug. 8 at 9 a.m. in Circuit Court.
The trial of Johnny Mack Brown, 36, will begin on August 17 at 9 a.m. in Circuit Court as well.
Judge Jannie Lewis will preside over both trials.
Coleman said the couple also have the option to offer plea deals on Aug. 5 at 9 a.m. if they wish to do so.
“Questioning is done prior to the trial,” Coleman said. “They will have a chance to enter a guilty plea on those charges. If they choose to do so, there will be no trial. If not, the trial date stands.”
Johnny Mack Brown turned himself into authorities last June in connection with the murder of Saxton. Johnny Mack Brown led local and state agencies on a manhunt after escaping from the Yazoo City Police Department.
Shontina Brown was arrested prior to her husband’s escape.
Saxton was murdered on Nov. 13, 2013. Saxton drove his tow truck to a remote area near Benton after receiving a call from someone who claimed to be interested in selling a car. Saxton was found dead near his truck from a gunshot wound to the head.
Johnny Mack and Shontina were also both arrested by Yazoo City police in August of 2014 for embezzlement under contract. In that case they were charged with taking out a title loan on a vehicle and then selling the vehicle to a scrap dealer.