Shooting suspect charged with murder|[3/21/06]

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 21, 2006

PORT GIBSON – Former Claiborne County road manager Carl Brandon used his arraignment this morning to say again he was wrongly fired in 1997.

Brandon, 52, also said he would plead innocent to murder, aggravated assault and shooting into an occupied home charges stemming from a Friday morning rampage.

&#8220I’ve been made a criminal through the system here,” Brandon told Justice Court Judge Danuel Lucas. &#8220And I would just like to ask that the media representatives go check the record of these allegations. I think you will find that the person just trumped up something and the board of supervisors just took it and ran with it.”

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Authorities said Brandon confronted Allen Burrell, 54, who was attorney for the board of supervisors, about 8 a.m. outside Burrell’s office and killed him with a shotgun.

In the next 20 minutes, the charges say, he shot into the home of County Administrator James Miller and then wounded Loretha Porter, an adminstrative assistant in the road department, who was at work in a county building. Brandon surrendered to Sheriff Frank Davis about 8:30.

Brandon was fired by the county nine years ago after an investigation into allegations that he had sexually harassed a woman employee.

Brandon denied the allegation and appealed, unsuccessfully, through the court system, leading to a Supreme Court decision in 2002.

Today’s initial court appearance was in the Claiborne County Detention Center, where Brandon is being held without bond. He was not represented by an attorney, but said he would be retaining one.

The state was represented by District Attorney Alexander Martin and County Prosecutor Michael Keyton. Keyton read the charges against Brandon.

Martin told Lucas that the state opposed setting bond.

&#8220We believe this defendant may be a danger to other people in the community, a danger to the community as a whole and a danger to himself,” Martin said.

Lucas ordered that Brandon continue to be held without bond. He said a bond hearing could be held once Brandon acquires an attorney.

Brandon disputed Martin’s claim, asking Lucas whether he would have turned himself in if he’d had intentions of harming other people.

Brandon, who continued to live in Port Gibson, is employed by the Vicksburg Warren School District as a special-populations teacher. The district was on spring break last week.

Porter had been released from University Medical Center, a spokesman there said this morning.

Funeral services for Burrell were Monday.