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September 20, 2006

CORY MAYE UPDATE:

Defense lawyers argued today that Cory Maye should be taken off death row and given a new trial.

On Jan. 23, 2004, a Marion County jury sentenced Maye to die by lethal injection in the 2001 killing of Prentiss Police Officer Ron Jones during a drug raid.

Statements by a confidential informant, Randy Gentry, led authorities to raid the duplex where Maye lived. Authorities found only remnants from a marijuana cigarette in Maye's duplex.

In a hearing today in Pearl River County Circuit Court, defense attorneys attacked Gentry's credibility. Gentry took the stand and said he wasn't prejudiced. But then he admitted on the stand that in a message left on defense attorney Bob Evans' answering machine he used profanity and the "n" word, repeatedly saying "those f--- --- n------" and referred to Maye a "c--- s-----."

Gentry testified he bought, as a confidential informant for Jones, two rocks of cocaine from Jamie Smith, 21, who lived in the other side of the duplex from Maye. He said he saw Smith go into Maye's house. Gentry said he saw a drug transaction between the two through a thin window curtain in Maye's house. But he acknowledged it wasn't "as plain as day."

Smith was charged but never prosecuted, Evans said. He skipped bail and has never been found.

Maye, who had no prior criminal record, insists he killed Jones in self-defense and had no idea he was an officer. He had been watching his 18-month-old daughter when officers burst in his side of the duplex.

A classic example of why paramilitary drug raids, especially based on the tips of confidential informants, are a bad idea.