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Attack on K9 officer earns 2 years in jail

A Warren County man will serve two years in prison after pleading guilty in 9th Circuit District Court to separate charges of killing or injuring a public service animal and grand larceny.

Circuit Judge M. James Chaney sentenced Thomas Bruce Wilkerson Jr., 28, 2986 Mississippi 27, after a May 24 sentencing hearing.

Wilkerson was sentenced to 10 years in prison with two years to serve on the charge of injuring a Warren County Sheriff’s deputy’s K-9, and five years in prison with two to serve on the grand larceny charge. The sentences will run concurrently, or together, for two years.

He was also ordered to undergo long-term drug an alcohol abuse treatment and pay a total of $3,169 in fines, fees and costs.

The charge involving the K-9 stems from a July 9, 2017, incident when a deputy attempted to stop Wilkerson for reckless driving and he fled, driving into the yard of a home on Nailor Road and then running in to a wooded area.

He was later seen by deputy Rick McDaniel, who attempted to stop him. McDaniel and Wilkerson got into a tussle, with Wilkerson pushing McDaniel down, and running off. McDaniel opened his car door to let his K-9 partner, Soldier, out.

The dog caught Wilkerson and bit him on the leg before being picked up, body slammed and tossed down the ravine.

Authorities captured Wilkerson about five hours later in a wooded area off Grange Hall Road where he was hiding.

Sheriff Martin Pace said Soldier, McDaniel’s personal dog, later returned to duty. He said McDaniel and Soldier later moved to a town in Alabama, where McDaniel was hired as police chief.

The grand larceny involves the theft of a Husqvarna golf cart from the All Saints Episcopal School. The school is the site of the AmeriCorps Southern Region campus. Wilkerson was indicted on the charge in February.

In another case, Walter Lee Freeman, 45, was sentenced to four years in prison an placed on four years’ post-release supervision after pleading guilty to sale of a controlled substance.

He was also ordered to pay $1,884.50 in fines, fees and restitution. 

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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