He Lost His Freedom After Police Broke Into His House

prentiss county mississippi courthouse
Zain Murdock
July 11, 2022

The night after Christmas in 2001, 21-year-old father Cory Maye suddenly heard loud noises at his front door. Terrified, he ran to his bedroom where his 1-year-old daughter slept, and grabbed his handgun. 

What happened next defined the next decade of his life.

Maye shot and killed the intruder that was breaking into his house - white cop Ron Jones. Jones was part of a group of officers conducting an aggressive drug raid, but they had the wrong house! 

Still, Maye was viciously beaten, charged, and eventually sentenced to death for killing an officer.

"We don't lynch black people outside of Mississippi courthouses anymore," one defense attorney said. "But we still lynch them on the inside." The attorney was right. Maye was subjected to a corrupt web of anti-Black violence and lies.

Records of Jones’ mistargeted investigation into Maye’s home disappeared. The doctor who performed Jones’ autopsy was known to perform favors for prosecutors. And Maye’s lawyer was inexperienced and unprepared. 

Nevertheless, after an appeal and national attention, Maye was released in 2011.

Even after the Mayes case, the police stepped up their efforts to incarcerate and kill, using no-knock warrants. 

"We as citizens sit back and say, 'Well, this could never happen to me,’” wrote Maye. “But ... if we don't take a stand, it's gonna continue to happen."

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