MAGNOLIA, Miss. (AP) — A witness testified Tuesday that a Mississippi man on trial in the 2017 shooting deaths of eight people showed up at her house the night of the killings and that he was carrying two rifles and told her that he had killed a sheriff’s deputy.
LaPeatra Stafford testified that Willie Cory Godbolt told her: “’I’ve done f—’ed up. I done shot the police.'”
The Daily Leader reported that Stafford said she was cooking a meal to take to church the next day when Godbolt, whom she had known for years, knocked at her door and said he needed to get away. She said her three children were asleep and she tried to give him her keys, but he demanded a car ride and promised not to hurt her.
Stafford said she drove Godbolt from Bogue Chitto to another small town, Magnolia, and back on the night of May 27, 2017. Stafford testified that she begged Godbolt to turn himself in to authorities.
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Godbolt, 37. He has pleaded not guilty to four counts of capital murder, four counts of murder, one count of attempted murder, two counts of kidnapping and one count of armed robbery. Among those killed were a sheriff’s deputy and Godbolt’s mother-in-law.
Godbolt has remained in custody since his arrest on May 28, 2017, hours after the shootings that Memorial Day weekend.
The killings began after Godbolt entered his in-laws’ home in Bogue Chitto and got into an argument with his estranged wife and her family over the couple’s two children, a witness testified earlier in the trial. Four people were shot to death at that home, then four people were killed at two other homes.
Stafford testified that as Godbolt was in her car, he used her phone to call his sister and he asked his sister to get in touch with a different sheriff’s deputy who is one of their cousins. Stafford said Godbolt told that deputy that he was still in one of the houses where some of the killings took place, even though he was sitting behind a hotel at the time in Stafford’s vehicle. She said Godbolt admitted it was a stall tactic.
Stafford said said she drove Godbolt to the home of one of his longtime friends, who also tried to get Gobolt to surrender to police.
Godbolt’s sister, Shelly Porter, also testified Tuesday, the Daily Leader reported. Porter said she had not been feeling well on May 27, 2017, and was headed to bed at 11:45 p.m. when she got a call from Godbolt from what she would learn later was Stafford’s phone.
Porter said Godbolt told her: “Baby girl, I f—‘ed up. I shot an officer and Faye and Brenda.” She said he was referring to his mother-in-law, Barbara Mitchell, and her sister, Brenda May, who were killed at the first home.
Testimony is scheduled to continue Wednesday.