Monday, March 27, 2023

Defendant Pleads Guilty for Murder of Ole Miss Student, Zacharias McClendon

Zacharias McClendon
Zacharias McClendon

Today on April 7, 2016, Derrick Boone pleaded guilty to the 2013 murder of former Ole Miss student Zacharius McClendon and was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole. Boone will be serving his sentence at the Mississippi Department of Corrections.

Derick Boone
Derrick Boone

Boone was only one of the three charged with capital murder. The two co-defendants, Steven Wilbanks and Joseph Lyons have yet to stand trial.

The trial came to an end after only four days of proceedings. Monday and Tuesday were jury selection. Wednesday followed with opening statements from the plaintiff and defense attorneys, and today marked the end with Boone’s plea.

Co-defendant Wilbanks was brought in to testify. Before leaving the courtroom, he apologized for the murder that took place.

Steven Wilbanks
Steven Wilbanks

“I would just like to apologize for what I did, my part in it. It was heinous, foolish act, and I was a dumb man. I didn’t know what I was doing. I shouldn’t have done it. None of us should’ve been there. We shouldn’t be having this discussion right now,” Wilbanks said in a statement to the victim’s family before leaving the stand.

Boone also apologized to the victim’s family before leaving the courtroom.

“I wish this trial could be condensed into a shorter term, and be required for any student enrolled at the University of Mississippi, to inform them that the choices we make when we’re young, can have devastating consequences. In some ways I feel sorry for you, in some ways I don’t,” Judge Luther said in closing.

Mia Sims is a intern. She can be reached at Payton Green also contributed to this article.

Callie Daniels Bryant is the senior managing editor at She can be reached at

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