Ridgeland attorney arrested for conspiracy in Cochran break-in
Thursday, May 22, 2014 10:34 AM
MADISON - Two additional people have been charged with felonies in the Rose Cochran break-in at St. Catherine's Village.
Clayton Kelly in Madison Municipal Court on Thursday charged with three felonies in the Rose Cochran break-in.
Attorney Mark Mayfield of Ridgeland was charged with conspiracy and bond was set at $250,000, despite protests from attorney Merrida Coxwell arguing Mayfield should be released on his own recognizance. Municipal Judge Dale Danks kept the bond the same.
The charges are related to the alleged April 26 break-in when a photograph of Mrs. Cochran, infirmed wife of U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, was taken and later posted on the internet.
Mayfield posted a $25,000 cash bond, waived his preliminary hearing was bound over to a grand jury.
Mayfield, a real estate attorney who lives in Bridgewater, is vice chairman of the Mississippi Tea Party and an at-large board member of the Central Mississippi Tea Party.
The second person, Richard Allen Sager of Laurel, was charged with evidence tampering and conspiracy and bond was set at $250,000 per count.
According to Sager's Facebook account, he is a P.E. teacher at Mason Elementary School in Laurel.
He remains in custody at the Madison Detention Center.
Clayton Kelly, the initial suspect in the break-in, had an additional felony charge added to his two other charges - exploitation of a vulnerable adult and unlawfully taking photographs. The additional charge was for conspiracy.
Bond for all three counts totaled $200,000.
Kelly's attorney Kevin Camp, too, asked for the bond to be lowered. His request was denied.
Kelly appeared for his preliminary hearing where only one witness - Madison Police investigator Vickie Curry - testified.
She told the court she first was notified of the alleged break-in during the afternoon on May 15. She said they spoke with Kelly on the afternoon of May 16 and subsequently made the arrest.
Curry testified that Kelly admitted to taking the picture and was successful on his third attempt. She said his reason was to propel his "journalism" career and "promote his blog and radio show."
Camp argued that the charge didn't meet statutory requirements and that monetary gain under $250 is a misdemeanor. He said there was no monetary gain, so at the very least, Kelly should be facing a misdemeanor count.
Curry said Rose Cochran likeness and image were "priceless" and therefore warrant the felony charge.
Danks ruled to deny Kelly's motion to quash the charge and his case was bound over to the grand jury. He said there was sufficient probable cause to move forward with the case.
Kelly is alleged to have gone into Rose's room inside an alzheimer care unit at St. Catherine's Village to take a photo of her alone. It was then that he used the photo on a Youtube video attacking Thad.
The video was posted on April 26 and taken down within hours.
Don Clark, an attorney at Butler Snow Law Firm, which represents the Cochran family, then did an "investigation" of its own before contacting Madison police.