Headlines – 6/22/2004

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Panolian Headlines: June 22, 2004

For complete stories, pick up the 6/22/04  issue of The Panolian

It’s a Dirt-y Job…
Rainy weather for the past few months has delayed work on the parking lot for the new Batesville civic center. With no skirts or screens being used, dirt has washed out below Tri-Lakes Medical Center several times, forcing the re-working of the lot seven times, a responsibility of the city.

On Monday, crews finally started working cement into the soil. Over 1,500 parking spaces are slated for the center, with parking spaces and dump sites available for RVs, as well. The 91,850 square foot project was started in October 2002 and was due to be completed in April 2004.

Guilty Plea Entered
     in Young Murder
By Jason C. Mattox
News Editor

Lois Lee Hudspeth entered a plea of guilty to murder in Circuit Court last week.

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Hudspeth, represented by attorney David Walker, plead guilty to the murder of Jennifer Russell Young, whose body was found at the Askew Wildlife Refuge late last year.

According to Investigator Mark Whitten of the Panola County Sheriff’s Department, Hudspeth could have entered the plea to avoid the possibility of facing the death penalty.

"The death penalty can only be imposed by a jury," Whitten said. "By pleading guilty, Hudspeth wouldn’t have to face a jury of his peers."

Instead, Hudspeth will face a life sentence in prison.

"The charge was simple murder," he said. "So he knew he would be facing a life prison term," Whitten explained.

Whitten said the body was found inside the Askew Wildlife Refuge Thursday, Nov. 6.

She had been missing from her home at 5689 Old Panola Rd. in Sardis since Tuesday, Nov. 4, Whitten said.

"We are working with officials in Tunica County on the matter because of where the body was found," Whitten said. "This, as one could imagine, is a very delicate situation."

According to published reports, one witness said she passed by Young’s residence at approximately 4 p.m. on the day of the abduction, and saw a small white car driven by a white male parked in the drive. The witness said Young was walking in front of the vehicle towards her residence.



S.O. Squashes Strong Rumor
Football Player Not Involved in Murder

By Jason C. Mattox
News Editor

Despite rumors to the contrary, Demetrius Smith remains in custody at the Panola County Detention Center and is the only suspect in the murder of Carnesha Nelson.

According to Investigator Mark Whitten of the Panola County Sheriff’s Department, Smith is the only person he believes was involved in the crime against Nelson, a University of Mississippi student whose body was found prior to the start of the St. Jude Bass Classic over the Memorial Day Weekend at Sardis Lake.

"The autopsy, performed by Dr. Steve Hale, ruled the death as a homicide," he said.

Whitten said Nelson had contusions to the neck that, along with the drowning, led to the death.

Published reports indicate the last time Nelson was seen alive was at her home in The Cove Apartments near the Ole Miss campus.

A preliminary hearing for the case scheduled for last week has been postponed until a later date at the family’s request as they attempt to secure another attorney.

"Smith’s family was interested in securing their own attorney to represent him other than David Walker who was appointed by the court to handle the case," Whitten said.

Whitten added that the Panola County Sheriff’s Department would like to put a stop to rumors of former South Panola High School and Ole Miss linebacker Eddie Strong’s involvement.

"While several people were questioned and saliva samples taken during the early stages of the investigation, the only person charged is Demetrius Smith," he said. "Eddie Strong was never believed to be involved in the vicious death of Carnesha Nelson."

The sheriff’s department is working with the Mississippi Bureau of Investigations, Lafayette County Sheriff’s Department, University Police Department and Oxford Police Department in the investigation.

Aaron Henry Celebrates
     25 Years in Batesville
By Frederick Cosby
Contributing Writer

June 6-10 marked the week of celebration for the Aaron E. Henry Community Health Services Center. The center celebrated its 25th anniversary of service to the public. In addition to their anniversary Aaron E. Henry hosted Patient Appreciation Day.

June 10 patients and visitors in Batesville, Como, Clarksdale and Tunica were invited to come and join in the celebration.

The health center provided free diabetes and blood pressure screenings, and children’s immunizations. Prostate, breast, and cervical cancer were some of the topics patients and visitors could ask about at information resource tables provided at the center.

"We are here to empower our patients with information," stated Renee Jones, D.O., pediatrician at Aaron Henry.

Jones explained that the more a patient knows about his or her health status, the more easily any health problems can be dealt with.

She also stressed the importance for children and elders of being aware of their health situations. If there is a health issue such a diabetic, cancer or blood pressure condition, it can be detected and combated in the earliest stages.

Among the health care providers that came out to help Aaron E. Henry celebrate their 25th anniversary and Patient Appreciation Day were Diabetic Shoppe of Charleston, Heritage Hospice, Inc. of Olive Branch, Gartright Reed Diabetic Supply, Inc., Delta Orthotics and Prosthetics of Oxford, the Boys and Girls Club, Batesville Job Corp., Baptist Care and Hospice, Dura-Med, and Mid-Delta Home Health and Hospice of Batesville.

All representatives of these companies provided information and answered questions for the patients and visitors.