Ted Cauthen

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 3, 2008

A shot in the dark: patrolman fought for life after ambush

By Billy Davis
Ted Dwayne Cauthen, Mississippi state prisoner No. 66274, had winnowed down 12 years of a 13-year sentence when he was released March 25 on Earned Release Supervision, a state probation program.

Two months and two days later, Cauthen has been sent back to Mississippi’s state prison system, where he now awaits a grand jury indictment for the Memorial Day armed robbery of a Batesville convenience store clerk.

Batesville police allege that Cauthen put a handgun to the head of a woman at Still Trailer Park and took the deposit for Crowson’s Grocery. The woman had been dropping off a Crowson’s co-worker late at night when the robbery occurred.

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About two hours after the robbery, police found Cauthen in a car on a nearby street, said BPD Detective Paul Shivers. He was arrested without incident, the detective said.

Cauthen is facing a 25-year maximum sentence on the armed robbery charge according to the detective.

Cauthen was 15 years old on the night of March 14, 1996. That night, a single shot rang out in the dark on Patton Lane and Batesville police officer Jimmy Anthony called out that he had been shot.

Anthony had walked to his patrol car to deliver the title of a car that had been confiscated during a traffic stop when someone fired from the dark, recalled BPD Deputy Chief Don Province.

Province, then a lieutenant, and Anthony were both participating in the traffic stop in which three males – none of them Cauthen – fled when the car came to a stop. The car was parked on Patton Lane near Stagecoach Road (now Martin Luther King Drive,) where officers rifled through the car to determine its owner.

“I handed the title of the vehicle to Jimmy and told him to put it in his car, and when he was walking back, I heard the shot,” Province recalled. Police found Cauthen in a nearby house, he said.

After the shooting, the following edition of The Panolian reported that Anthony fought for his life for three days in an intensive care unit at Baptist Memorial Hospital in Oxford. The bullet had damaged his organs and severed an artery. He turned 28 while still in the hospital.

A new state law, passed a year earlier, allowed for Cauthen to be tried as an adult for using a firearm to commit a felony. He entered the state prison system on November 5, 1996.

Province said he could not recall if Cauthen said why he shot Anthony, but police had reported that beer bottles and rocks had been thrown at them earlier in the evening.

A spokesman with the Miss. Department of Corrections said Cauthen is now confined at a prison facility in Rankin County while he awaits re-entry into the prison system. He will serve the remainder of the 13-year sentence as well as the two months he enjoyed under the Earned Release program.

Batesville police are still investigating the armed robbery to determine if Cauthen had an accomplice, said Shivers.