Biloxi, Miss. – District Attorney Crosby Parker announced that Andre Sullivan age 21, Wanya Atkinson age 23, and Davion Atkinson age 24, all of Biloxi, were sentenced earlier today for their roles in assisting Darian Atkinson following the May 5, 2019 murder of Biloxi Police Officer Robert McKeithen.
The three men all previously plead guilty, Sullivan in December of 2019, and the Atkinson brothers in May, 2020, but sentencing was deferred for each pending a resolution of the Capital Murder case against Darian Atkinson.
Darian Atkinson is currently awaiting a psychological evaluation at the Mississippi State Hospital at Whitfield, and the Capital Murder case has been continued until that evaluation can be completed.
As part of their plea agreements, Andre Sullivan and Wanya Atkinson, brother of Darian Atkinson, agreed to provide truthful testimony at the trial of Darian Atkinson. Their anticipated testimony would include that they recognized Darian Atkinson in the photographs of the suspect released through the media on the night of May 5 and into the early morning hours of May 6, 2019, that they met with Darian Atkinson at his mother’s house on Woodfield Lane during the early morning hours of May 6, and that they assisted with providing him with a change of clothes, so that he would not be recognized by law enforcement.
Sullivan and Wanya Atkinson further admitted that they intentionally misled law enforcement when questioned about their involvement with Darian Atkinson in the hours following the murder of Officer McKeithen.
Davian Atkinson, also the brother of Darian Atkinson, plead guilty to the accessory charge without an agreement with the State.
According to Assistant District Attorney Ian Baker, the evidence showed that Davian was also present at his mother’s home on Woodfield Lane when Darian arrived during the early morning hours of May 6, 2019.
According to Baker, Davian Atkinson was aware of the media releases showing Darian Atkinson as the suspect, and knew that a firearm was missing from his residence.
Davian was present when Darian was provided with a change of clothes, and gave Darian a ride to Wiggins, where Darian Atkinson was captured the following day.
At the sentencing hearing, Baker read a prepared statement from Officer McKeithen’s wife, Pam McKeithen. In that statement, Mrs. McKeithen expressed that she believed these young men did not understand the magnitude of their actions, and that they would earn her forgiveness by completing their educations or learning a trade, and by committing no further crimes.
After hearing from the State, counsel for the Defense, and each of the Defendants, Judge Christopher Schmidt agreed to follow the recommended sentences for Andre Sullivan.
Judge Schmidt sentenced Sullivan to the maximum sentence of twenty (20) years to serve in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, on the Accessory After the Fact to Capital Murder charge. Sullivan was on bond for an Armed Robbery at the time of his arrest on the accessory charge, and also plead guilty to the Armed Robbery in December 2019.
Judge Schmidt sentenced Sullivan to fifteen (15) years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, with ten (10) years suspended, leaving five (5) years to serve, followed by five (5) years of post-release supervision on the Armed Robbery charge, to be served concurrently with his sentence on the accessory charge.
Judge Schmidt also agreed to follow the recommended sentence for Wanya Atkinson. Wanya Atkinson was then sentenced on the charge of Accessory After the Fact to Capital Murder to twenty (20) years to serve in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, with ten (10) years suspended, leaving ten (10) years to serve, followed by five (5) years of post-release supervision. Wanya Atkinson had no prior felony criminal history.
Davian Atkinson, who plead without an agreement with the State, was sentenced to twenty (20) years to serve in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, with five (5) years suspended, leaving fifteen (15) years to serve, followed by five (5) years of post-release supervision. Davian Atkinson, likewise had no prior felony criminal history.
In pronouncing the sentence for each defendant, Judge Schmidt recognized that none of these young men participated in the murder of Officer McKeithen, and that their criminal involvement was limited to assisting Darian Atkinson evade arrest after the fact. Judge Schmidt echoed the sentiment of Pam McKeithan stating, that “what we all hope for you, is that after you complete your prison sentences, you do what everyone should do, lead productive lives committing no further crimes.”