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After shooting a waitress, Biloxi man asks Waffle House guests what they have to say, authorities say

June 15, 2023

Johnny Max Mount had been sitting at a counter at the Waffle House in Biloxi for about 10 minutes before a waitress told him he couldn’t smoke his e-cigarette.

Mount slid back in his chair, stood up, pulled a 9 mm handgun from a black holster around his shoulder, and leaned over the counter to shoot Julie Brightwell.

Brightwell saw the former Biloxi firefighter pull out the gun. She tried to save herself by crouching behind the counter near the register, where Mount had been sitting.

Waffle House did not permit smoking inside, and a division head, Floyd Virgil, said Brightwell did what she was supposed to do when she told Mount he couldn’t smoke.

What happened the night of Brightwell’s killing could be seen firsthand in video surveillance footage from the Biloxi restaurant where the shooting occurred.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mount is on trial this week for first-degree murder in the Nov. 27, 2015, shooting death of the beloved 52-year-old Waffle House waitress.

Assistant district attorneys Billy Stage and George Huffman are prosecuting the case and put on the surveillance video of the killing early on Tuesday.

The trial is being held before Circuit Judge Lisa Dodson.

Before the testimony began, Dodson said as part of the court record that Mount had written that he uses the surnames of “King” or “Lord” before his name to refer to himself.

Mount, the judge said, had described himself “as a prisoner of war in a civil society” in the notes and wrote that he had been in custody for too long.

Mount has been in jail since his arrest the morning of the November 2015 killing.

His attorney, Jim Davis, is planning an insanity defense. Mount, he said, had suffered from a traumatic brain injury when he was struck by a car on Highway 49 in Gulfport years ago.

On the first day of testimony, the Waffle House division manager, a Biloxi police dispatcher who got a 911 call about the shooting, and Biloxi police Sgt. Eli Humphrey testified.

Humphrey was the officer who took Mount into custody.

An early-morning Waffle House killing

In the video surveillance footage shown to the jury Tuesday, Brightwell could be seen walking around the store helping customers and staff.

She waited on several tables, went back and forth behind the counter and worked the register.

After Mount first arrived, another Waffle House employee got him a drink and sat it on the counter.

Mount fidgeted with his menu for a bit before Brightwell later law something and went over to where Mount was sitting in a countertop seat near the register.

Brightwell tells Mount he can’t smoke his e-cigarette in the restaurant, the video shows.

Mount pushed his seat back, stood up, pulled his 9 mm handgun out of a black holster on his shoulder, and fired a single shot into the server’s head while customers were seated around the restaurant.

Mount then walks toward the door to get outside, but authorities say he stops and turns around to ask if anyone else has anything to say before he goes.

No one responds, the video shows.

Mount then went outside and placed the gun and holster there before returning to use the restroom.

Some customers huddled under tables to avoid being shot when Mount pulled out the gun, while others sat helplessly until help arrived or Mount left the business.

Various customers ran out when Mount went to the restroom.

Mount walked back outside and leaned against the glass window front at the Waffle with his hands against the wall when he saw a Biloxi police officer pulling up to the business.

Mount was taken into custody then.

A Biloxi firefighter and beloved employee

Before his arrest for murder, Mount had served as a successful firefighter with the city of Biloxi for 10 years.

He ended his firefighting career after a non-fire-related accident in 2002. In that incident, Mount was hit by a vehicle while standing on U.S. 49 in Gulfport and lost a leg as a result.

In addition, Mount suffered a brain injury.

Brightwell’s death left her family and friends in shock and mourning.

Her aunt, Diane Hickman, had nightmares for weeks after she learned of her niece’s death.

Brightwell had lost her parents years before her death, and Hickman said she and her husband stepped in to help her over the years.

The waitress had moved to South Mississippi after she and friends visited for vacation one year, and she loved it.

Brightwell had spent her earlier years in Nevada and California working as a dental hygienist. She left that career behind, her aunt said, after she moved to Mississippi.

Testimony in the first-degree murder trial of Mount continues Wednesday in Biloxi.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: SunHerald/YahooNews

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