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COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) — A Columbus man avoids a 10-year prison sentence.

A Lowndes County Circuit Court jury deliberated about two hours Wednesday afternoon before splitting split 6-5-1 on whether 35-year-old Charlton Colom was guilty of possession of a weapon by a convicted felon.

If convicted, he automatically would have been sentenced to 10 years as a habitual offender because of two prior cocaine convictions in Lowndes County in 1999 and Tippah County in 2009.

A jury hung 6-6 on the same charges following an August 2009 trial.

Colom was arrested May 31, 2008 after Lowndes drug agents served a search warrant at a Northside Columbus apartment. Agents heard a gun shot near the apartment complex and found a gun and Colom walking nearby.

Colom said the gun belonged to someone else who threw it and ran when agents pulled up at the apartment complex.

In addition to beating the gun charge twice, prosecutors last year dropped capital murder charges against him in the December 2008 shooting death and robbery of Michael Gordon at Gordon’s residence on Billy Walker Road. Prosecutors said they couldn’t prove Colom was the shooter.

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