3 enter guilty pleas to accessory charges in Biloxi officer’s death

District Attorney Joel Smith announced Tuesday that three Biloxi men pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact to the capital murder of Biloxi Police Officer Robert “Mac” McKeithen, who was shot outside the police department on May 6, 2019.

Joshua Kovach, 22; Dalentez Brice, 21; and Wanya Atkinson, 21, all of Biloxi, entered guilty pleas before Judge Christopher L. Schmidt, who deferred sentencing pending a resolution of the capital murder charge against Darian Atkinson and the remaining accessory after the fact to capital murder charges against Davian Atkinson.

In addition, Brice also pleaded guilty to hindering prosecution.

During the pleas, Kovach, Brice and Wanya Atkinson all told the court that prior to arriving at Atkinson’s mother’s home in the early morning hours of May 6, 2019, they had all seen photos of the suspect released to the press and on social media and recognized the suspect as Darian Atkinson.

Kovach and Wanya Atkinson admitted that after arriving at the residence, they assisted Atkinson in changing clothes to conceal his identity as the suspect.

Brice, who did not actively participate in the changing of Atkinson’s clothes, admitted to lying to the police when interviewed, denying both that he knew Darian Atkinson and that he had been at the residence with Darian Atkinson on the night of Officer McKiethan’s murder.

Assistant District Attorney Ian Baker further advised the court that the assistance Kovach and Wanya Atkinson provided to Darian Atkinson was captured on video by a home surveillance system.

Kovach was out on bond at the time of his plea, but after his plea was accepted, he was remanded into custody pending sentencing. Brice and Wanya Atkinson have been in custody since their arrests in May of 2019, and will remain in custody pending sentencing.

Sentencing for Kovach, Brice, Wanya Atkinson, and Andre Sullivan, who plead guilty in December of 2019, has been set for September 2020.

The capital murder trial of Darian Atkinson is set to begin on September 21, 2020.

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