Two Men Sentenced to Life - WHLT 22 Connecting the Pine Belt

Two Men Sentenced to Life

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Two men were sentenced to life in prison for the murder of an elderly woman.

James Martin and David Bass both plead guilty to murder today and waived their right to a trial. They were sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Martin and Bass escaped from a work center in Forrest County last October.

The next day, they broke into the home of 95-year-old Ada Smith, beat her, tied her up with shoe string, and stabbed her in the throat.  They then stole her car and took off.

But they were arrested in New Orleans a while later.

"I feel that my grandmother served her purpose and that the sentencing to day will help the immediately family put this behind them and help them move forward as much as they can," Smith's granddaughter Laura Taylor said.

Martin, 23, and Bass, 27, faced Judge Tony Mozingo in Lamar County Circuit Court today and plead guilty to capital murder.

"I think he is very sorry about the role he played in this," Bass' Defense Attorney Thomas Fortner said.  "There really wasn't anything he could do to change what happened."

Taylor stood before the court to address Bass and Martin, calling them cowards and saying that real men wouldn't beat a wheel-chair bound lady.

"Was my grandmother such a threat to the two of you that you had to kill her?" she asked them.

A courtroom full of Smith's family members watched as Taylor showed the men a picture of who they called "Mama Smith."

"My grandmother would want me to pray for you," she told the men.  "She would want me to witness to you, but I'm not a 10th of the Christian that she was."

Mozingo sentenced Martin and Bass to life in prison without the possibility of parole and ordered that they be taken from Lamar County today.

"After what you did to this precious mother, grandmother, and cherished senior citizen in this community while she was trying to talk to you about the Lord is exactly why I'm in the position that I'm in to punish you the fullest extent of the law," Mozingo told the men before sentencing them. "And I will say that you will have the rest of your life to consider what you'll say and how you'll make account for your actions,"

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