Kidnap suspect waives hearing
By Dwayne Bremer
Mar 28, 2014, 18:32
Suspected kidnapper and child molester James H. Smith decided Wednesday to decline a preliminary hearing in Hancock County Justice Court.
Hancock County Justice Court Clerk Lisa Guidry said Thursday that Smith's attorney Todd Thriffiley entered a waiver of the hearing and the case will now be sent to the Hancock County Grand Jury.
Preliminary hearings are often held for offenders who have yet to post bond on felony charges.
The purpose of the hearing is to determine if there is enough probable cause to send the case to the grand jury.
Smith, 41, is accused of kidnapping two young boys at a Pearl River County home in December.
Authorities said Smith took the boys--ages eight and five respectively--to a home in the Leetown community, sexually assaulted one and cut the other's throat.
One of the children was able to escape and run to a neighbors home for help.
Smith fled the home, but was captured a few hours later by Hancock and Pearl River County deputies.
Authorities charged with two counts of kidnapping, one count of sexual battery on a minor, and attempted murder.
He was also on probation with the Mississippi Department of Corrections for an outstanding RICO Act violation.
After his arrest, he was transported to a MDOC facility to serve the rest of his original sentence.
Last week, deputies brought Smith back to Hancock County last week for the preliminary hearing.
Hancock County Jail Warden Evan Hubbard said Monday that Smith will be returned to MDOC's custody and that Hancock County has placed a hold on him.
Officials said they hope to present Smith's case to the grand jury later this year and if he is indicted, he will then be returned for trial.
If convicted, Smith faces up to life in prison, officials said.