August 12, 2011 in Nation/World

Mortar shell left on judge’s patio as gift

Holbrook Mohr Associated Press
 

JACKSON, Miss. – It was the gift that came with a bang.

The wife of Mississippi Judge Charlie Vess found a mortar shell on the couple’s patio in Natchez this week. They called the sheriff’s office.

The sheriff called Fort Polk, an Army base in neighboring Louisiana. It sent a bomb team to blow up the mortar at the Natchez-Adams County Airport on Wednesday.

Turns out, the judge collects military memorabilia and a friend had left the mortar as a gift. There was no note and military explosive experts said it could have been a live phosphorus round because it didn’t appear to have been taken apart. The sheriff’s office, however, said Thursday that information it obtained since then indicates it was not a live round.

“I think people may not want to give me little happies like that anymore,” Vess, an Adams County Justice Court judge, told the Associated Press.

The judge said he suspected that the round was a gift, but judges make decisions that make some people angry, and there have been cases in the United States were judges were targeted for revenge.

“I do preliminary hearing in murders, rapes and robberies and lots of other stuff,” Vess said.

Vess said he hasn’t had a chance to talk to the friend who left the mortar, and he didn’t provide his name.

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