Sentencing held for former Bassfield court clerk

Published 10:40 am Tuesday, December 24, 2013

In a Rankin County courtroom on Monday, December 16, former municipal court clerk for the town of Bassfield Dianna Hutchinson, pled guilty and was sentenced for the charge of false pretense.

Hutchinson along with former Mayor Jerry Holland, former fire chief Tommy Dewitt and former maintenance supervisor Robert Mauldin were indicted in September as a result of the investigation into surplus property purchased by the City of Bassfield and converted to personal use.

Each former employee was charged with embezzlement and conspiracy to commit embezzlement. Embezzlement charges were dropped for Hutchinson for lack of enough evidence to convict, according to the Rankin County District Attorney’s office. She received a felony conviction of 10 years in the custody of the Department of Corrections, which was suspended. She received five years supervised probation.

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In October 2012, State Auditor Stacy Pickering announced the return of 22 pieces of property and equipment improperly obtained by the City of Bassfield back to the State of Mississippi. An investigation determined the items were purchased by the City but were intended and later converted to personal use.

Hutchinson had purchased one trailer from the town at a cost of $1,800 and kept the trailer on her property. “The town of Bassfield is limited in storage space, and the town could use the trailer whenever they wanted. When there was a tornado in Sandersville, I called them and asked if they needed the trailer.”

Hutchinson’s trailer was one of the 22 items returned to the Surplus Property Facility.

“I’m not admitting guilt, but the guilty verdict is in my best interest,” said Hutchinson. “I made a bad decision on bad advice. I got advice that I could do this.”

The cases against Holland, Dewitt and Mauldin are still awaiting action with a trial date set for January 21 in Rankin County.