Deputies arrest man convicted in David Pernell murder case

New Albany MS Adam Ray arrest
November 21st, 2019     General News

One of three men involved in the May 2000 murder of retired post office employee David Pernell has been arrested while apparently out on an earned release program from the Mississippi Department of Corrections.

Adam Ray, 38, was taken into custody Wednesday and charged with possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of methamphetamine and tampering with evidence.

Sheriff Jimmy Edwards said the arrest happened during a traffic stop Wednesday night. The tampering charge stems from Ray’s attempting to eat the meth.

Edwards said the final nature of the charges and whether felonies may be involved depends on the weight of the drugs. Parts of the case are still under investigation.

He added that he did not know that Ray was no longer at the state prison.

Earned Release Supervision is part of a truth-in-sentencing law passed in 1995. A prisoner must earn the right to ERS based on behavior and serve a major portion of his or her sentence, often 85 percent.

Ray was given a tentative release date of January 2021 but went into the system in 2000 with a sentence of 20 years for manslaughter plus 10 years for attempted armed robbery. Consecutively that was a total of 30 years. Eighty-five percent of the sentence would put the release date at about 2025.

His arrest presumably will affect the earned release status and length of time to serve, depending on the outcome of these new charges.

At the same time Ray was sentenced, Curtis Lipsey was also given 10 years plus 20 years for his part in the Pernell killing. He was given an additional five years for a grand larceny charge apparently unrelated to the Pernell case.

He is still in state prison according to public information available from the department of corrections.

The two were in the car with Marlon Howell, who was convicted of shooting Pernell and remains on death row following several unsuccessful appeals. A recent television program implied he may have been wrongly convicted but prosecutors expressed continued confidence in the conviction.

The shooting occurred during an apparent robbery attempt on Pernell, who was working as a carrier for the Tupelo Daily Journal at the time. During the trial it was alleged that Howell needed money for court fees the following day and the trio had been looking for someone to rob.

Ray and Lipsey cooperated with law enforcement officers during the case and pleaded guilty to the slightly lesser charges.

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