Fondren shot Wright

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 30, 2012

Detective alleges Fondren fired shot

By Emily Darby Williams

Batesville Municipal Court Judge Bill McKenzie reduced a $1 million bond during a preliminary hearing Wednesday for Marico Fondren, one of four men charged with the January 16 gang-related murder in Batesville of Jeremy Wright, 24.

Fondren, of 1078 Rockhill Rd., Sardis, was said to be armed with an assault rifle according to courtroom testimony from a Batesville police detective.

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The judge bound Fondren’s case to a Panola County grand jury and reduced his bond to $500,000.

Two other defendants, Michael Dishmon and Marcus Wheatley, had their preliminary hearings last Friday. Both were bound over to the grand jury.

There has been no preliminary hearing yet for the fourth defendant, Michael Fondren.

All four defendants are from Sardis and all have claimed affiliation with the “Mafia” Vice Lords, a gang which is a rival to the Gangster Disciples — to which victim Jeremy Wright claimed allegiance.

Batesville Police Det. Capt. Paul Shivers, questioned during the hearing by Assistant District Attorney Jay Hale,  testified that Michael Fondren had made a statement that the “other side” (Gangster Disciples) pulled weapons first and he and Marcus Wheatley ran, but Marico Fondren was the one who had the assault rifle.

Pathology reports have indicated that Wright was shot in the head with a .223 assault rifle. Shell casings were found at the scene, but no weapon has been recovered.

Marico Fondren’s attorney, John Watson, asked Shivers, “Who fired first?”

“According to Michael, he turned to run and Marico shot Wright,” Shivers said.

Shivers also testified that witness Bobby Perry had described driving the four defendants to Angela Sanford Hunt’s house earlier in the day of the shooting, after receiving a call that Roderick Scurlock, an alleged Gangster Disciple, was in the area.

Marico  Fondren, 18, is the youngest of the four defendants.

Marico’s step father, Steve Flowers, 1078 Rockhill Rd., Sardis, took the stand after the bond reduction was requested and confirmed that Marico lives with him.

“I realize whether these bonds are cut in half or not, it does not give practical relief,” Judge McKenzie said,  “but I’ll reduce the bond to $500,000.”