Trial dates set for Cotton District murder suspects

During brief hearings Wednesday, 21-year-old Jaylen Barker and 19-year-old Syboris Pippins were arraigned by Judge Jim Kitchens. He tentatively set Jan. 29 trial dates for both men in Oktibbeha County Circuit Court.
By: 
STEVE ROGERS
Special to Daily Times Leader

Two mothers weeping quietly on one side of the courtroom and another sobbing quietly on the other. It's a tragedy that will play out over the next few months for at least three families whose lives are torn apart.

District Attorney Scott Colom won't say whether he will seek the death penalty against two Columbus men indicted for capital murder in the Nov. 6, 2016, shooting death of 21-year-old Joseph Tillman during an apparent robbery in Starkville's Cotton District.

During brief hearings Wednesday, 21-year-old Jaylen Barker and 19-year-old Syboris Pippins were arraigned by Judge Jim Kitchens. He tentatively set Jan. 29 trial dates for both men in Oktibbeha County Circuit Court.

Their attorneys -- Brent Brumley of Jackson for Pippins and Tony Farese for Barker --  have until Jan. 3 to file motions for a change of venue and for mental evaluations if the attorneys have any indication the men might not be competent to stand trial.

The first plea date for both is Jan. 22.

Kitchens acknowledged it was unlikely either case would go to trial when first scheduled because murder cases, especially capital murder cases, take months to prepare. Attorneys for both men have until Dec. 14 to request the state's evidence in the cases and District Attorney Scott Colom's office has 30 days to respond after that. And even those deadlines may be adjusted, Kitchens said.
A large group of family and friends attended hearings for each man. Mothers and other relatives were comforted at times during the hearing by other relatives.

Tillman's parents sat on the opposite side, their emotions overwhelming them at times during the two hearings.

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