City man sentenced to 20 years for slaying

Published 11:59 pm Friday, June 1, 2012

A Vicksburg man who shot and killed another man following a fight over a dice game will spend two decades in prison.

James Ransom, 20, 1717 Martha St., pleaded guilty Friday to the lesser charge of manslaughter by culpable negligence and was sentenced by Circuit Judge M. James Chaney to 20 years in prison, the maximum allowed by law.

Ransom was set to go to trial Monday for depraved heart murder, which carries a sentence of life in prison. Rather than go to trial, Ransom entered a guilty plea Friday under a deal that allows the sentence of pending robbery case before Circuit Judge Isadore Patrick to run concurrently with the manslaughter sentence.

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The state plans to recommend five years in prison for the robbery, District Attorney Ricky Smith said.

Ransom was also ordered to pay court cost of $322.50, and Chaney suspended a fine of $10,000.

Ransom shot and killed 20-year-old Robert Banks, 226 High Hill Drive, May 31, 2011, Smith said. Ransom and a group of juveniles had been fighting for an hour over a dice game in the 1700 block of Martha Street when Ransom grabbed a gun and fired into a crowd gathered to watch the fight, Smith said.

The bullet stuck Banks in the chest, and he died later that day at River Region Medical Center.

Michael Jackson, 20, also of 1717 Martha St., and Kendall Oliver, 15, 2200 Marshal St., were also arrested and charged with murder after the fatal shooting, but a Warren County grand jury chose not to indict them in October.

“We presented every bit of evidence that we had, and based on that, the grand jury felt that Oliver and Jackson had no criminal responsibility for the death of Mr. Banks,” Smith said after the grand jury met. “They also felt the evidence showed that neither provided the weapon.”

Ransom was indicted in January 2011 for an April 5, 2010 robbery where he is accused of stealing $13 from a man in the 1300 block of Washington Street.