JACKSON, Miss — Gov. Phil Bryant announced Wednesday that he has appointed Mark Duncan as the Eighth Circuit Court District circuit judge.  Duncan, who has served as DA for the Eighth District since 2003, will replace Judge Vernon Cotten, who retired May 31.

Gov. Bryant will appoint his replacement as DA for the Eighth District, which covers Scott, Leake, Neshoba and Newton counties.

Since starting in the DA’s office in 1988, Duncan has tried more than 800 jury trials. Perhaps his most notable came in his first term as DA, when he led the prosecution of former Ku Klux Klan leader Edgar Ray Killen for the killing of three civil rights workers. Duncan’s team secured a conviction on three counts of manslaughter that led to a 60-year sentence.

“I have been blessed to have had the opportunity to serve our district in the District Attorney’s office for almost 30 years,” Duncan said. “My primary motivation in joining the District Attorney’s office those many years ago, was a desire to have a positive impact in the community that I love and where I live.”

Duncan’s appointment will be effective June 2.