By Shakara Shepard
ONL Lead Reporter
On Monday, June 12, accused murderer Michael Magness appeared in court. After 9:30 a.m., citizens throughout Okfuskee County gathered in the District Courtroom for jury duty selection. However, before names were called and jurors were selected, Okfuskee County District Judge Lawrence Parish called court to order in the courtroom on the first floor.
After agreeing to accept a plea deal, Magness appeared alongside his attorney Curt Allen and prosecutors Emily Mueller and Laura Farris. Magness was advised of his Constitutional Rights in which he waived. Magness then waived his right to a trial by jury as to count 4: possession of juvenile pornography. He withdrew his plea of not guilty and entered a plea of guilty as to count 4 only.
The Court sentenced Magness to a term of ten years in the Department of Corrections and advised him that he must serve 85 percent of the sentence. The Court ordered post-imprisonment supervision for three years and ordered Magness to pay all court costs, a $100 fine and victims compensation assessment.
Magness has been accused of murdering his wife, Elizabeth, on March 15, 2015. He is also accused of burning down his grandfather’s house to collect the insurance money on Sept. 7, 2014.
The child pornography charge came after explicit photos were found on Magness’ phone and computer of a 15-year-old girl who resided with him and his family in 2014. The girl testified during Magness’ preliminary hearing under oath and stated that she was unaware of certain apps Magness had put on her phone. The apps allowed Magness to view and save every incoming and outgoing message on the girl’s phone. She testified that the photos were only meant to be seen by her boyfriend.
Magness remained in the custody of the Okfuskee County Sheriff’s Office. He will face a jury in the fall for murder in the first degree-deliberate intent, arson in the second degree, false claim for insurance, exhibit obscene material and furnishing alcoholic beverages to a minor.
After accepting Magness’ guilty plea, Judge Parish went to the third floor District Courtroom and qualified all of the potential jurors. The jurors were then ordered to come back on Monday, June 19, for the jury trials of Gary Wilson and Johnny Hopes.