Jasper man did $36,000 damage to TEC facility


A Jasper County man who tried to get a taste of freedom instead earned himself a long prison sentence, and a couple of people accused of helping him landed in jail.

Mykel Matthia McDonald, 22, was ordered to serve 20 years in the full-time custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections. He was working as a trusty at the Jasper County Jail, awaiting transport to an MDOC Restitution Center, when he walked off a work detail washing cars late Sunday afternoon, Sheriff Randy Johnson said.

McDonald was arrested in Meridian on Monday evening by Meridian police and MDOC officers, Johnson said. “Family and friends who allegedly picked him up and covered for him” have since been arrested, Johnson added. Those include 21-year-old Zyshawn Ke’won Thames for aiding escape, and 19-year-old Marinda Rebekah Bell and 23-year-old Lakeliver Joyce Leggett for aiding and abetting a felon.

McDonald had originally avoided prison time, pleading guilty in Jasper County Circuit Court in February 2018 to felony malicious mischief for doing more than $36,000 worth of damage to a TEC remote office in Rose Hill. After serving 31 days in jail, he received a 20-year suspended sentence, with the condition that he pay a total of $36,140.41 in restitution to TEC, along with court fees and fines.

But McDonald failed to make monthly payments of $146.62 for restitution and he didn’t pay the court or report to his probation officer, so in July, Judge Stanley Sorey revoked McDonald’s probation and ordered him to serve his time at an MDOC Restitution Center until his debts were paid. It was while he was awaiting a spot to open that he decided to make a dash for freedom.

After being caught in Meridian, McDonald was transported to MDOC’s central facility in Rankin County. He will face up to an additional five years for escape.

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