A Carthage man accused of, among other things, killing a Longview woman before engaging in an armed standoff, surprised court officials Thursday by pleading guilty to his charges.

Jeffrey Mickens, 49, told 123rd District Judge LeAnn Rafferty that he did not want a trial.

“I’m pleading guilty from the gate, so we’re going to save the state a lot of time and a lot of money,” Mickens said. “When this first starts, I’m saying I’m pleading guilty to every charge that you gave.”

A sentencing hearing has been set for June 17 and is expected to take several days.

Mickens is accused of killing Elania Johnson, 44, of Longview on Private Road 622 off County Road 222 in Holland’s Quarters. He is also accused of shooting another Longview woman, kidnapping that woman’s 2-year-old daughter, engaging in a 10-hour standoff with the Panola County Sheriff’s Office and shooting at a deputy.

Mickens pleaded guilty to murder, attempted capital murder of a peace officer, two counts of aggravated kidnapping and one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon on Thursday.

All but the aggravated assault charge are first-degree felonies, meaning they carry a punishment range of five to 99 years or life in prison. The aggravated assault charge is a second-degree felony and carries a punishment range of two to 20 years and a fine up to $10,000. Mickens is not eligible for probation.

Mickens is representing himself in the case. Last week he told Rafferty that his court-appointed lawyer, Rick Hagan, was not doing anything to help him win his case. He re-iterated that point on Thursday and also apologized for his disrespectful attitude during a hearing last week.

“I just feel at every torrent I’m currently getting no relief,” Mickens said.

Hagan, who Rafferty kept on the case to act as aide to Mickens if needed, told Rafferty the same thing.

“He tells me he believes that he’s being railroaded by the state and by his attorney,” Hagan said.

In court Thursday, Mickens stood and listened to each of his charges being read out before entering a guilty plea, pausing for a brief moment after each time Rafferty asked him if he was pleading guilty because he was guilty. As Assistant District Attorney Katie Nielsen read out the attempted capital murder of a peace officer charge, Mickens shook his head no several times but still pleaded guilty.

Mickens waived a pre-sentence investigation report — background and character references used to help decide a defendant’s sentence — against Rafferty’s advice.

“I believe you have the ability to waive that, and you’re doing so knowing that it could benefit you?” Rafferty asked.

— “Yes,” Mickens said.

“I’m sure Mr. Hagan would probably tell you that it would be a good idea,” Rafferty said. “But if you do not want that, that’s not a problem.”


Carthage native Meredith Shamburger has worked for the Panola Watchman since 2018. Before that, she worked at sister papers in Longview and Marshall; the Dallas Morning News; and The Daily Voice, a hyperlocal news company in Westchester County, New York.