The police were given access to Mr. ["Constitutional Clayton"] Kelly’s Facebook exchanges, which showed him discussing the plan with John Mary of Hattiesburg, once the co-host of a conservative talk-radio show that Mr. McDaniel previously hosted and regularly appeared on.
According to those exchanges, which were examined by The New York Times, as well as interviews with people briefed on the case, Mr. Mary and Mr. Kelly hoped to propel rumors about the state of Mr. Cochran’s marriage that had been circulated on social media by McDaniel supporters as a kind of subterranean campaign issue. Mr. Kelly and Mr. Mary planned to make a video, but were unsure how to get a current picture of Mr. Cochran’s wife [,who suffers from dementia,] in the nursing home.
Mr. Mayfield did not take part in these exchanges. But he was contacted at one point, apparently by Mr. Mary, and asked to take Ms. Cochran’s picture, since his own mother was in St. Catherine’s [Village, a gated nursing home]. He declined. Instead, according to the message traffic, he agreed to set Mr. Kelly up with someone else — a person who has not been named or charged — who could help Mr. Kelly carry out his plan.To be fair, it appears Messrs. Kelly and Mary were the ones exchanging messages about Mayfield's involvement and that Mayfield didn't participate in that exchange. They could have been lying about Mayfield, although there wouldn't be a rational reason to lie in those exchanges, which they presumably kept confidential until they were caught. And presumably they repeated the story to police. However, Mr. Mayfield was at a minimum accused by his fellow Tea Party stalwarts of knowingly facilitating a despicable act of abuse against a helpless invalid for political gain.
To the extent anyone other than Mr. Mayfield was responsible for Mayfield's demise, it was Messrs. Kelly and Mary, not the law enforcement authorities whose sworn duty is to protect and serve victims of crime. If Mr. Mayfield was despondent over his embarassment and loss of business after his involvement was disclosed, he has no one to blame but himself and his co-conspirators.
But the bitter baggers are having none of this personal responsibility bushwa. "Close friends and political colleagues of Mr. Mayfield, on the other hand, are infuriated by the treatment of him, which they call unjustifiably heavy-handed," the Times reports. "'They destroyed that man, and for what?' said Roy Nicholson, who along with Mr. Mayfield helped create the state Tea Party. 'There is a burning anger in the people that knew Mark Mayfield. And we will not let it go.'” Because, you see, the Mayor of Jackson is a Thad Cochran supporter, and "'there is a feeling among dozens and dozens of people that Mark was used for political purposes,' said Merrida Coxwell, Mr. Mayfield’s lawyer at the time of his arrest." The nutjob narrative is not that Mayfield was not involved (that is, innocent), but that the response to his involvement was political.
In this telling, Mark Mayfield was not the sort of man who would or should feel remorse over victimizing a woman suffering from dementia and living in the same circumstances as his own mother, but only over his exposure as such a person. And, as they righteously declare, they knew Mark Mayfield.