The man accused of murdering local businessman Ricky Saxton is requesting that his trial be held in another county.
He also wants an attorney with no Yazoo connection to represent him.
Johnny Mack Brown appeared before Judge Jannie Lewis in Yazoo County Circuit Court Friday afternoon as family and friends of Saxton sat quietly in the audience.
Lewis granted the request of public defender Michael Rushing that he step down as Brown’s legal counsel.
Rushing said he is friends with some members of Saxton’s family.
“I just don’t think I can provide Mr. Brown with the kind of defense he needs,” Rushing said.
Brown, who is currently being held at the Madison County Detention Center, also asked the court for his new legal representation to not have any Yazoo connection.
“He has the desire to have the trial away from Yazoo County and have an attorney who knows nothing of the parties involved and has no true connection to Yazoo County,” Rushing added.
Lewis said Brown will be appointed another attorney.
Brown told the court that he has been abused since his incarceration last year.
“I have been beaten...because of this Saxton investigation,” Brown said. “I can show you the bruises if I need to.”
Brown also said he was accused of escaping the Yazoo City Police Department after he was detained for questioning last summer.
“That is not true,” Brown said. “Instead of taking me to a holding cell, the police officer took me to the door and asked me if I was all right. Then he let me leave.”
Lewis stopped Brown from continuing, granting his request for new legal representation.
Shontina Brown, the wife of Johnny Mack Brown, was also arrested in connection with the murder case. She did not appear in Circuit Court last week.
Robert Coleman, Yazoo County circuit clerk, said Johnny Mack’s trial is tentatively scheduled for Aug. 15 at 9 a.m. in Yazoo County.
Shontina Brown’s trial is also tentatively scheduled for Aug. 22 at 9 a.m.
But Coleman said there is a possibility that the trials could run over into the next court term, which begins on the third Monday in November.