Multiple agencies investigating hanging deathBy TIM GETER,
A hanging death near Green Grove Rd. in Scott County earlier this month remained under investigation by multiple agencies including Mississippi Bureau of Investigation, Federal Bureau of investigations, and Scott County Sheriffs Department as of press time on Tuesday.
According to Scott County Sheriff Mike Lee, on February 8, a call was dispatched to the sheriff’s department in reference to a hanging death at a residence. Sheriff Lee said that when the deputies arrived they found Willie Jones, 21, of Pleasant Ridge Rd. Forest, deceased.
“According to witnesses at the home Jones and his girlfriend were arguing,” Lee said. “Jones was later found outside deceased.”
According Scott County Deputy Coroner Patricia Woods, the Mississippi Crime Lab Pathology report stated the cause of death was “strangulation from the ligature around his neck.”
There are some, including family members, that thinks this could have been a death caused by other motives but Sheriff Lee does not belive that to be the case.
“Once the investigation started, Jones’ family made accusations that the crime could be racially motivated,” Lee stated. “however, during the investigation there was nothing to back that accusation up.”
The sheriff added that the home was resided by an interracial family. He said that the people consisted of both blacks and whites and there were multi-racial children living in the home as well.
There was an apparent argument earlier that day between Jones and his girlfriend. “The investigation focused on an earlier event where Jones assaulted his girlfriend and we worked it to make sure some one did not retaliate against Jones for the assault,” Lee said.
“At this time, there is also not any evidence to prove that this had happened but this is still an ongoing investigation.”
During the investigation and because of the racial accusations, the sheriffs department decided to call upon two other agencies. “We determined that we would notify the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to assist in this case,” Lee said.
“This has always been the practice during my administration to ask for assistance whenever those (racially motivated) accusations are made whether founded or unfounded.”
To complicate matters, an apparent drive-by shooting occurred at the same location on Green Grove Rd, on February 14. Lee said that when the deputies arrived after that report they found that someone had driven past the house and fired into the residence several times. “Now we have two investigations occurring at the same house,” Lee said.
Lee also stated that there were small children in the house as well as the adults that lived there. “When something like this shooting happens it does not help the case at hand, and is senseless,” Lee said.
Lee concluded by saying that this shooting now, takes away man hours from the initial case of the death of Jones and is being actively investigated by both Scott County Sheriffs Department and the Mississippi Bureau of Investigations. Also, there is a $500 reward to anyone who has leads to the arrest and conviction of persons involved in this case.
“We should have the results in the next few days of the MBI’s investigation and later the FBI’s. We hope to release those findings soon to the public when we get them,” Lee concluded. This is still an ongoing investigation, therefore; if anyone has any information reguarding this matter please contact the sheriff’s department at 601-469-1511.