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Mississippi Tea Party leader dead in apparent suicide


BY LETITIA STEIN AND COLLEEN JENKINS

(Reuters) - A prominent lawyer and leader of the Mississippi Tea Party, who was arrested in connection with photos posted online of U.S. Senator Thad Cochran's bedridden wife, died on Friday of an apparent suicide, the man's attorney said.

Mark Mayfield, 58, was a founding member of the state's Tea Party and had served as its vice chairman, the organization said.

"This is a terrible tragedy that shouldn't have happened," Mayfield's lawyer and brother-in-law, John Reeves, told Reuters.

Mayfield was one of three men accused in May of conspiring with a blogger to illicitly take photos of Cochran's wife, who has dementia, in her nursing home for use in a political video against the six-term incumbent.

Mayfield was charged with conspiracy to photograph someone without permission, an allegation met with shock and some skepticism in the legal community where he was highly regarded.

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant was among those who expressed sadness on Friday, calling Mayfield a long-time friend.

"A good number of us just simply refused to believe that he had anything to do, at least on any criminal level, with what happened with the nursing home scandal," said attorney Matt Eichelberger, who blogs about progressive politics in the state.

Mayfield's death comes after state Senator Chris McDaniel, who had the backing of conservative Tea Party groups, lost a bitterly contested primary runoff against Cochran on Tuesday for the Republican Senate nomination.

McDaniel, who has denied any connection to the photo conspiracy, has accused Cochran's camp of slandering him by insinuating his involvement.

Mayfield, a lifelong resident of Mississippi who practiced real estate law, bowed out of politics after his arrest, said Merrida Coxwell, another attorney who represented him.

Coxwell said he last spoke with Mayfield on Wednesday, when they discussed the criminal case but not the results of Tuesday's election. He said he had urged Mayfield to be patient.

"I don't know what was on his mind," Coxwell said. "I guess just being charged, for a man of Mark's kind sensibilities, was too much."

Miss. Tea Party Leader Dead In Apparent Suicide

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michelle June 27 2014 at 3:59 PM

A good number of us just simply refused to believe that he had anything to do, at least on any criminal level, with what happened with the nursing home scandal," said attorney Matt Eichelberger, who blogs about progressive politics in the state."

I believe the fact that the teabagger committed suicide is a admission of a guilty conscience for the wrong that was perpetrated.

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34 replies
debnaert June 27 2014 at 3:59 PM

This is NOTHING compared to what Obama has DONE to this country!

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50 replies
CherMoeLin June 27 2014 at 4:04 PM

Anyone still have doubts as to who and what Republicans/Tea Party people stand for??

Flag Reply +74 rate up
20 replies
trconsulting June 27 2014 at 4:00 PM

Mayfield did the right and proper thing, probably for the first time in his life and certainly for the last time.

Flag Reply +72 rate up
14 replies
stu0605 June 27 2014 at 4:00 PM

OK Well, that's a start. Next!

Flag Reply +62 rate up
13 replies
rstrickland June 27 2014 at 4:09 PM

Too bad the Democrat leaders will not have the descency to do the same!

Flag Reply +46 rate up
19 replies
Hey Pop! June 27 2014 at 4:02 PM

Who in their right mind would do something so evil?! Oh well, one less evil minded soul on this planet.

Flag Reply +46 rate up
8 replies
icikebbocsike June 27 2014 at 4:02 PM

good riddance...

Flag Reply +42 rate up
5 replies
hman570 June 27 2014 at 3:59 PM

One less lawyer we have to worry about.

Flag Reply +31 rate up
6 replies
englishfleck June 27 2014 at 4:57 PM

Maybe the Limbaugh bunch can blame Obama .

Flag Reply +7 rate up
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