By Josh Mitchell
Corinth Today News Editor
A former school administration official was sentenced to serve eight years in prison Monday morning for child sex crimes.
Michael Shane Casabella appeared in an orange jumpsuit in Alcorn County Circuit Court with his attorneys as Circuit Court Judge Jim Pounds handed down the sentence recommended in the plea agreement.
Casabella last month pleaded guilty to one count each of fondling, sexual battery and child enticement.
District Attorney John Weddle said he thinks the sentence was a good resolution to the case, especially since it is a day-for-day eight-year sentence.
Furthermore, victims in the case were content with sentence, Weddle noted.
One of the victims gave an emotional impact statement in court and read a letter submitted to the court by another victim.
The letter from one of the victims was titled “To a Piece of Crap.” In the letter, the victim told Casabella, “I sincerely and truly hate you with every ounce of my being.”
She said Casabella was supposed to be a role model and that he was a principal and youth pastor.
North Corinth Christian Academy was mentioned in the indictment.
Casabella declined to make any comments in open court but did submit an eight-page letter that was made part of the public court record.
The victim’s letter said Casabella would become like a “demon,” and it also discussed specific instances and locations she was victimized by Casabella.
But in the letter, she said, “I’m not your victim anymore.”
The victim who read the letter said it has been an “excruciating” experience that she lives with every day.
Weddle said the victims’ courage to step forward and report what happened was key to the case. The girls showed great bravery by sharing their stories especially when some people did not believe them, Weddle added.
Casabella “preyed” on the victims “at that school,” Weddle said, adding, “He needs to go to prison.”
Eight years is a “long time” for Casabella to sit and think about what he did, Weddle said.
The district attorney’s office communicated with the victims throughout the case, and the victims provided “a lot of input,” Weddle added.
Under the plea agreement, Casabella was sentenced to 30 years in prison with 22 years suspended and eight to serve on the sexual battery charge.
He received 15 years in prison with seven years suspended and eight to serve on the fondling charge. Those sentences will run at the same time.
He received 40 years in prison with 40 years suspended on the child exploitation charge.
Casabella will have many more years hanging over him if he commits any violations once he is released and placed on probation for five years, Weddle noted.
Arrangements were being made to immediately transport Casabella to the Mississippi Department of Corrections to begin serving the eight-year sentence.