CANTON — A 26-year-old former firefighter who was sentenced to life in prison last year for the murder of an alleged drug dealer was denied a rehearing by the Mississippi Supreme Court last week.

Williams Wells was found guilty of murdering 37-year-old Kendrick Brown on the steps of the Madison County Courthouse on Aug. 3, 2016, but argues he was not given a chance at trial to explain the motives behind the shooting.

Wells intended on arguing that the shooting was done to protect his mother, Sherry Wells, who had been shot in the leg one week prior to Wells shooting Brown.

Circuit Judge Steve Ratcliff determined that evidence regarding his mother being shot the defense planned on presenting was not allowed.

The Supreme Court affirmed Ratcliff’s decision last Thursday.

The day of the shooting, Wells walked up to Brown, who was sitting on a bench outside with his attorney while awaiting a hearing regarding felony drug charges. Wells shot Brown once in the chest and later complied with law enforcement directives to drop the gun and lie on the ground.

Wells’ mother was set to testify that she was a confidential informant who bought drugs from Brown and others and after indictments were handed down she began receiving threats.

Wells argued in his appeal before the Supreme Court that he should have been able to defend himself against the accusations of murder — largely a defense of justifiable homicide.

The Supreme Court opined that “the evidence does not support a theory of self defense/defense of others…there was no imminent danger at the time Wells shot Brown.”

“As the circuit court pointed out: ‘We live in a civilized society,” the Supreme Court opinion stated. “We live in a civilized community. We’ve got to obey laws. We’ve got to abide by them, and allowing any type of self-defense argument in this case would be tantamount to living in the Old West.’ Wells shot Brown based on pure speculation and word of mouth that Brown wanted Sherry killed.”

The Court further opined that Wells failed to provide any evidence that backed up a self defense or manslaughter defense.

“Because the self defense/defense of others and manslaughter defenses were not viable, the circuit court correctly determined that the evidence was not relevant, and even if it was relevant, allowing the evidence at trial would serve only to confuse the issues and the jury,” the opinion concludes.