Resentencing ordered for ‘01 case
The Mississippi Supreme Court on Nov. 1 issued an order vacating Billy Ray Harris’s sentence of life without parole and remanding the case to Madison County Circuit Court for resentencing, according to a news release from the court.
The order concerns the case of Billy Ray Harris, 59, who was sentenced to life in prison without parole in February of 2001, for the Nov. 1999 murder of Ronnie Travis.
“Petitioner should have been sentenced to a maximum term of life imprisonment. This Court should therefore vacate Petitioner’s life without parole sentence and remand to the trial court for resentencing consistent with the statute,” the documents from the court read.
The jury reportedly took four hours to reach its verdict after a three-day trial.
Billy Ray Harris was sentenced along with his brothers, Charles and Jason, in connection with the beating death of Travis.
According to court documents, the beating took place outside a Canton nightclub known as the Windy City Club where a birthday party was being held.
Testimonies differ as to who was the initial aggressor but accounts agree a fistfight took place between Travis and Harris. At the conclusion of the fight, Ronnie Travis lay in the ditch across the street from the club. He died almost a day later due to cerebral trauma secondary to blunt force trauma.
When Ronnie Travis died of his injuries, the three brothers were indicted for depraved-heart murder, court documents say.