Gautier man sentenced to life in murder of girlfriend

A Gautier man has pled guilty to murder a year and a half after church members found the burned and decomposed body of his live-in girlfriend.

Fifty-seven year-old James Vanlaningham entered the guilty plea Tuesday in Jackson County and was sentenced to life in prison. Amanda Hicks was killed February 8, 2017.

According to court testimony, Vanlaningham said he and Hicks were arguing over money after drinking at a casino. He said he tied Hick’s body to a tree behind Pine Grove United Methodist Church and left her there. Her body was found more than a month later and dental records had to be used to identify her.

A cause of death could not be determined. The couple’s child is in foster care.

Categories: Crime, Featured, Jackson County, Local News, News

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