A Mississippi man was given the death sentence on Thursday for shooting and killing eight people in 2017. He was sentenced by the Judge hours after he blamed the devil for his actions in his prepared speech in court.
Willie Cory Godbolt, 37, was convicted for capital murder, attempted murder, kidnapping, and armed robbery on Tuesday. Judge David Strong on Thursday ordered Godbolt's execution on July 15 in the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman. Capital murder, which is punishable by death after unanimous votes by the jury, can be appealed and be set to life imprisonment.
Godbolt's 2017 murder spree
Godbolt was found guilty of killing William Durr, Brenda May, Toccara May, Barbara Mitchell, Jordan Blackwell, Austin Edwards, Ferral Burage, and Sheila Burage in a shooting spree spread over days in May 2017.
Police report reveals Godbolt went to his in-laws' home and argued with his estranged wife about their children on May 27, 2017. A domestic disturbance call was reported, and a deputy who responded to the call, Gotbolt's mother-in-law and two other people were shot dead there. The next day, two young people were killed in a second house, and a married couple was killed in a third house, according to the Associated Press.
Other charges against him include attempted murder of deputy Timothy Kees, the kidnapping of LaPeatra Stafford and Xavier Bishop, and armed robbery for forcing Henry and Alfred Bracey to give him their car keys at gunpoint.
'Devil came to kill and destroy'
Godbolt delivered a speech that was heavy with religious references in the court, including blaming the devil for his actions. He said he wanted to better man, "but the devil came to kill and destroy. He wasn't going to let that be." Describing the shooting, he said, "My life came to a screeching halt," and that "I couldn't fight the battle that was raging inside me."
However, his speech agitated many family members of the victims who had gathered in the court. He said he feared for his daughter was in danger from other relatives, prompting his ex-wife Sheena May, who told him to shut up and blamed him for killing her mother. The judge then stopped Godbolt's speech, halted proceedings, and family members were led out of the courtroom, reported Daily Leader.
Dr Matt Mendel, a clinical psychologist from Raleigh, North Carolina, in Godbolt's defence, said his childhood trauma manifested into resentment towards women. He said Godbolt was 17 years old when his stepmother shot and killed his father. The incident "led to enormous anger and resentment, especially toward women," Mendel was quoted saying.