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Neshoba courthouse home to school shooting trial

By By Penny Randall / staff writer
Sept. 14, 2003
PHILADELPHIA Like many county courthouses, the Neshoba County Courthouse has had its share of famous trials.
One of the biggest was in June 1998, when a Philadelphia jury found 17-year-old Luke Woodham guilty of murder and aggravated assault for an October 1997 shooting spree at Pearl High School.
Coats said the one thing he remembers most about the trial was the bombardment of media that came from all over the United States to report about the event.
Woodham was accused of killing two classmates former girlfriend Christina Menefee, 16, and her friend, Lydia Dew, 17 and wounding seven others during the attack.
Jurors deliberated about five hours before returning their verdict on June 12 and sentencing Woodham to two consecutive life sentences.
A separate jury in Philadelphia convicted Woodham of murdering his mother, 50-year-old Mary Woodham, which prosecutors said happened several hours before the attack at Pearl High.
Coats said he remembers the last day of the trial. Downtown Philadelphia experienced a power outage, delaying the trial for several hours.