Derik Graves entered pleas of guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Murder and Grand Larceny. Circuit Court Judge Paul S. Funderburk sentenced Graves to serve 15 years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections. Graves was sentenced to an additional 15 years suspended. The plea came after a Lee County Jury was ready to be empaneled to hear the case
Graves committed the conspiracy to murder by planning with and hiring a Lee County Man, a co-worker of Graves’, to shoot and kill Graves’ wife. Graves obtained a murder weapon to accomplish the shooting.
District Attorney John Weddle said Graves’ plan was thwarted when the hired gunman turned confidential informant and advised law enforcement of Graves’ plan. The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation, working with the informant, recorded Graves during 10 meetings scheming with the informant to obtain a rifle and accomplish the murder. Weddle stated that on December 2, 2015, moments after Graves obtained the weapon, state and federal authorities made their arrest and recovered the weapon. During the investigation, a stolen 2011 Polaris Ranger Utility Vehicle was recovered from Graves’ home. The Polaris had been reported stolen by the Prentiss County Sheriff’s Department.
Weddle said today he is “thankful the man Graves conspired with decided to come forward and cooperate with authorities. Otherwise, we could have been going to trial on a charge of murder instead of conspiracy.” Weddle thanked Lieutenant Chad Cummings with the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation for an outstanding investigation and Assistant District Attorneys Paul Gault and Josh Wise, who prosecuted the case for the District Attorney’s Office.