Biloxi man sentenced to maximum for aggravated assault

Billy Shannell Nailer Jr

Gulfport, Miss. – District Attorney W. Crosby Parker announced that Billy Shannell Nailer, Jr., age 50, of Biloxi, was sentenced today to the maximum 20 years day-for-day for aggravated assault.

Nailer was convicted of aggravated assault following a jury trial earlier this month. Nailer was prosecuted as a habitual offender meaning the 20 years must be served day-for-day, without the possibility of early release or parole.

During the trial, the jury heard from two brothers who testified that on the night of June 14, 2020, they were traveling by boat up the Biloxi River to a family member’s house after an evening of fishing. As they reached the bend in the river near Snug Harbor Drive, they observed Nailer, who was known to them from previous encounters, standing on his porch with what appeared to be a large sling shot.

Debris in the river from a recent storm forced them to turn the boat around right in front of Nailer’s house. As the boat turned, they heard a thud. They first thought the thud was debris in the river striking the boat, but the older brother discovered a crossbow arrow lodged in the back of his seat and saw Nailer on his porch running toward the door still holding what he then realized was a crossbow.

The men also heard a woman’s voice yell “get inside and put that thing away,” said Assistant District Attorney Ian Baker, who prosecuted the case for the State along with ADA Katherine Gargiulo.

The brothers then traveled back down river to their house, and immediately called the police to report the incident. The jury also heard from another boater, who testified that the day prior, he was traveling in his boat on the Biloxi River when Nailer pointed a crossbow at him as he passed by.

The witness was also familiar with Nailer from previous incidents. Finally, the jury heard from investigators from the Biloxi Police Department, who testified that during the execution of a search warrant on Nailer’s residence, they located a crossbow and five crossbow arrows in his master closet. Investigators determined the arrows located were the same brand, the same color, and marked with the same manufacture date stamp as the arrow lodged in the back of the victim’s boat seat.

At sentencing, the Court was presented a summary of Nailer’s criminal history, which included two felony convictions and 18 misdemeanor convictions. Many of the misdemeanor convictions were violent in nature. The Court noted Nailer’s criminal history spanned over 20 years.

“We commend the victims for contacting police and cooperating through this prosecution, and the Biloxi Police Department for their thorough investigation in this case. This habitual sentence handed down by the Court is appropriate given this Defendant’s actions and his criminal history”, said DA Parker.

Categories: Featured, Local News, News