Interstate shootings

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 18, 2012

By Billy Davis

James Willie, the Sardis man suspected in two fatal highway shootings, threatened to kill his probation officer in 2005 according to court records in Panola County.

Willie, 28, was sentenced in 2002 to two years in prison for burglarizing a home, a sentence that came with 13 years of post-release supervision.

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While under probation, Willie was sentenced to eight years in prison after he tested positive for marijuana use, drove recklessly in Batesville with no license in 2004, and threatened the probation officer the following year.

Willie was released in April 2010 after completing a portion of the remaining eight years, a spokesman for the Miss. Department of Corrections said Friday.

The Panola County Circuit Clerk’s office provided the court documents to The Panolian at the newspaper’s request. 

Tunica County authorities announced early Friday they had arrested Willie on Tuesday when officers responded to a disturbance call at an apartment.

A woman in the apartment claimed Willie had raped her, police told the Associated Press.

Warren Strain, a spokesman for the Miss. Department of Public Safety, said Willie will be charged with two counts of capital murder in the shooting deaths of Thomas Schlender, 74, and of Nebraska and Lori Anne Carswell, 48, of Hernando.

Authorities said they found a 9mm Ruger in the apartment and a ballistics test matched it to the Interstate 55 and Tunica County shootings.

Look for more information in the Tuesday, May 22 issue of The Panolian.