Latest Mississippi news, sports, business and entertainment at 9:20 p.m. CDT

VIRUS OUTBREAK-MISSISSIPPI

Mississippi gov says pandemic no 'excuse' to release inmates

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves says the state will not use the coronavirus pandemic as an “excuse” to release some inmates. Diverse groups are saying the virus could spread dangerously inside prisons. Mississippi Prison Reform Coalition is demanding that Reeves release some inmates, including those who are older or infirm. Empower Mississippi says the state needs to increase coronavirus testing in prisons and make information easily available to the public. Reeves says 37 inmates have been tested for the virus, and four were positive. The Health Department says at least 8,400 cases of the virus have been found in the whole state.

AP-US-MISSISSIPPI-WELFARE-MISSPENDING

Favre repaying $1.1 M for no-show speeches, auditor says

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Former NFL quarterback Brett Favre is repaying more than $1 million in welfare money that he received for speeches where he did not show up. Mississippi Auditor Shad White said Favre paid $500,000 Wednesday and pledged to repay $600,000 in the next few months. An audit that White released Monday showed Favre had been paid by a nonprofit group called the Mississippi Community Education Center. It was using money intended to help needy families. White says he has seen no indication that Favre knew he was being paid with welfare money. Favre was paid in 2017 and 2018.

MISSISSIPPI TAX DEADLINE

Mississippi delays income tax filing deadline until July 15

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — For the second time this year, Mississippi is delaying the deadline to file state income tax returns. The state Department of Revenue said Wednesday that July 15 is the new deadline for individual, corporate, franchise and fiduciary income tax returns. That’s also the deadline for federal income tax returns. The state and federal tax filing deadline is usually April 15. The Internal Revenue Service said weeks ago that the federal deadline is delayed three months because of the coronavirus pandemic. Mississippi officials originally delayed the state filing until May 15. The Department of Revenue set the second delay after discussions with legislative leaders.

CIVIL WAR GRAVES

Civil War soldiers' remains unearthed from cemetery collapse

VICKSBURG, Miss. (AP) — National Park Service archaeologists are recovering the remains of unidentified Civil War soldiers from a collapsed section of Vicksburg National Cemetery in Mississippi. The collapse happened in February. The National Park Service says remains of about 15 Union soldiers are being unearthed from graves that were part of the collapse or that are in an unstable area. The material will be stored so each soldier’s remains are kept together, and DNA testing may be needed. The remains will be buried again in the 116-acre cemetery. About 17,000 Union soldiers are buried there, and about 75% of them are unidentified.

CAREGIVER SUSPECT-EXPLOITATION

Caregiver accused of stealing money from disabled patient

TUPELO, Miss. (AP) — A Mississippi caregiver has been accused of stealing money from a disabled patient. The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reports 51-year-old Mary A. Smith was charged Monday after investigators with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office and Adult Protective Services spent months looking into the case. Authorities have not revealed the identity of the victim or the amount of money taken by Smith. She has been booked into jail on a $75,000 bond and charged with three counts of exploitation. It was not immediately clear if she had a lawyer who could comment on her behalf.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-MISSISSIPPI

Mississippi legislators to consider virus aid to businesses

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi legislators are returning Thursday to consider helping businesses hurt by the coronavirus outbreak. Leaders made the announcement Tuesday but didn't give details. The legislative session has mostly been on hold since mid-March. Legislators worked Friday, voting to assert their control over spending pandemic relief money. Mississippi is getting more than $1 billion from the federal government. Republican Gov. Tate Reeves calls that a power grab by the the Legislature. He says he's still intends to hire consultants to ensure the money is properly spent. Mississippi has more than 8,200 confirmed cases of the virus and more than 340 deaths from it.