February 1, 2023

Canton Teen Sentenced for Murder on I-55 Outside Renaissance Shopping Center

Morgan Howard

Source: Madison Co. District Attorney's Office

Madison and Rankin Counties’ District Attorney Bubba Bramlett announced Wednesday that Marcus Luckett, Jr. was sentenced for the 2021 murder of Lakender Francis.

On April 24, 2021, Marcus Luckett, Jr. who was 15 at the time, followed a vehicle from Canton into Ridgeland on I-55. While passing the Renaissance Mall, Luckett fired shots at the vehicle striking and killing Lakender Francis, 16, and wounding Kaiden Thomas, 19.

Information obtained during the investigation indicated that there was an ongoing dispute between Luckett and the victim including an incident a month prior in which Luckett himself was shot.

Police believed that was the motive for this killing.

Luckett pled guilty to one count of second-degree murder.

A sentencing hearing was conducted Wednesday morning in the Madison County Circuit Court.

Representatives from both the victim’s and Defendant’s families spoke at the hearing. Ultimately, Judge Mills ordered Luckett to serve forty years to be released after serving the first twenty-eight years without the possibility of parole or early release.

Luckett will be on five years of supervised probation upon his release.

District Attorney Bramlett stated after the sentencing,

“This is yet another example of teens committing violent crimes against other teens. In this situation, there are no winners. Both families lost a son on that fateful day because one was murdered and the other will be in prison
for the next 28 years. We are thankful for the Ridgeland Police Department for the thorough investigation into this matter so that the Francis family could get closure. I hope that this case and sentence will send a message to stop the violence that is currently plaguing the teenagers in
our communities.”

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