Judge who presided over De La Beckwith trial passes away


HINDS COUNTY, Miss. (WJTV) – Retired Hinds County Circuit Judge L. Breland Hilburn of Jackson passed away on Monday, April 5. According to officials, Hilburn died of complications from COVID-19 at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC). He was 79.

A private family service is planned for April 9. Sebrell Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Hilburn retired for the court bench on May 31, 2002, after 30 years as a municipal, county and circuit court judge. He presided over the 1994 trial of Byron De La Beckwith for the 1963 murder of civil rights leader Medgar Evers. The judge sentenced Beckwith to life in prison at the end of the trial.

Hilburn is survived by his wife, JoAnn Hilburn, sons, Judson Hilburn and John Holmes Hilburn, daughter, Kathy Hilburn, and two stepsons, Bill Dearman and Russ Dearman.

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