DA: Murder suspect will be retried following mistrial

Published 11:36 am Friday, March 22, 2024

Warren County District Attorney Ricky Smith Jr. on Friday said murder suspect Byron Griffin will be retried by the state following a mistrial this week.

Griffin stands accused of shooting and killing 46-year-old Shirray Harris at a Vicksburg Circle K convenience store on Washington Street following an altercation last year.

Smith said the jury, after hearing arguments from both the state and Griffin’s attorneys, were simply unable to agree on whether or not he acted in self defense when he shot Harris during the altercation.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

“Absolutely,” Smith said of retrying Griffin for second-degree murder. “The jurors were unable to come to a unanimous decision on the case.”

Smith said the charges stem from the 2023 altercation which ended with Griffin allegedly attacking Harris with an ax handle, at which time Harris produced a handgun from a vehicle.   

“The facts of the case are that the defendant and the victim got into a disagreement at the convenience store and ultimately the defendant, Byron Griffin, went to his vehicle, got an ax handle and began to chase the victim, Shirray Harris. Mr. Harris was able to go back to his vehicle, obtain a pistol. But then Mr. Griffin was able to take the pistol away from Mr. Harris and fired some rounds, killing him.”

While the state claims Griffin did not act in self defense, his lawyers argued his actions were the result of his fearing for his life – two arguments Smith said the jury could ultimately not reconcile.

“The jurors seemed to be stuck, some of them, on the fact that Mr. Harris was able to get his pistol and, therefore, felt that Mr. Griffin was acting in self defense once the pistol was produced,” Smith said. “Of course, our position is that Mr. Griffin was the first one to introduce a deadly weapon; that ax handle is a deadly weapon. And therefore Mr. Harris was the one defending himself.”

Griffin was initially held on a $1 million bond set by Judge Angela Carpenter in May 2023. 

Smith said Friday that a new trial will likely be set for later this year.

“We do intend to retry the case,” he said. “The problem, of course, is that our docket is pretty full for the next couple of months. We anticipate for it to be reset at the end of summer, early fall.”