May 2, 2024

Madison and Rankin District Attorney’s Office Awarded Trial of the Year

Morgan Howard

Source: District Attorney's Office
Source: District Attorney's Office

Madison and Rankin Counties’ District Attorney Bubba Bramlett announced that Assistant District Attorneys Ryan Berry and Kathryn Newman were recognized with the MPA Trial of the Year 2023 at the Mississippi Prosecutors Association (MPA) Conference held last week in Biloxi.

ADA Ryan Berry and ADA Kathryn Newman were awarded for their work in the State of Mississippi v. Daniel Ray Skaggs trial.

A Rankin County Grand Jury indicted Daniel Ray Skaggs on April 6, 2023, for the crimes of Rape, Kidnapping, and Armed Robbery that happened in 1990. The Skaggs trial began on June 19, 2023, with Judge Dewey Arthur presiding and ADA Kathryn Newman and ADA Ryan Berry representing the State.

The State called 13 witnesses over a two-day period, including both the 1990 Brandon, Mississippi rape victim and a Memphis, Tennessee victim who was raped thirty days later.

The case was given to the jury on June 22, 2023, and after deliberating an hour and a half, the jury found Skaggs guilty of Rape and Kidnapping. Immediately after the trial, Judge Arthur proceeded with sentencing, where Skaggs was sentenced as a violent habitual offender and given two consecutive life sentences.

This case has gained national and international recognition. In the fall of 2023, producers from the show “Bloodline Detectives” filmed a documentary on the case entitled “The Mississippi Rapist.”

It was later aired in the United Kingdom and the United States and is now available on YouTube.

In 2023, ADA Berry and a Genealogist from Bode Technology in Virginia presented the Skaggs case to the International Symposium of Human Identification in Denver, Colorado.

In addition, Berry recently presented this case to the Mississippi Division of the International Association for Identification.

“This was a groundbreaking case involving the use of forensic investigative genetic genealogy (FIGG) to successfully prosecute a serial rapist on a cold case from 1990,” explained Bramlett. “This is one of the few cases in the nation that has used this cutting-edge technology to identify, track down, and convict a violent criminal. I am extremely thankful for our dedicated and talented team. ADA Berry, ADA Newman, and our entire office have spent countless hours successfully prosecuting this serial predator,” stated Bramlett.

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