DA: No charges coming 5/29/2015

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 29, 2015

Wayland Bownes

Reco Leland

DA: No charges coming

By Rupert Howell
District Attorney John Champion said Thursday that no charges would be filed in the shooting deaths of two men on Shiloh Road Tuesday night, citing the Castle Doctrine which has a castle law with a “stand-your-ground” clause.

 The state’s statute justifies the use of deadly force to prevent a felony from being committed against a person, including the defense of himself and his home or the defense of another person.

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Wayland Bownes and Reco Leland died at the scene Tuesday night of apparent gunshot wounds, according to Panola County Coroner Gracie Grant-Gulledge who said Wednesday morning both bodies had been transported to Jackson where they awaited autopsies by the State Medical Examiner’s office. Those autopsies were thought to be completed by Thursday.
It’s the autopsies’ results along with evidence being investigated by the Mississippi Crime Lab that officials were awaiting to hear from on Wednesday afternoon, predicting  it would confirm suspicions derived through other evidence and interviews occurring throughout the night Tuesday all the way into Wednesday mid-afternoon.

Champion, Sheriff Dennis Darby, Chief Investigator Barry Thompson and Assistant DA Jay Hale all looked tired but relaxed Wednesday afternoon after meeting into the night Tuesday and most of Wednesday with other investigators and witnesses in the Tuesday night slaying on Shiloh Road near Courtland.

The incident was, “an on-going fight over a female,” according to District Attorney Champion, who said the apparent loser of a fight re-appeared at the Shiloh residence with friends and guns Tuesday night.

Although not too specific,  investigators and prosecutors revealed that multiple shots were fired outside the home where the alleged assailants were found.

Thompson said a fight occurred Sunday, spilled over to Monday and Tuesday.

Although those with gang affiliation may have been involved, Thompson said he did not think it had anything to do with this week’s altercation.

Thompson, who has also been involved with the Jessica Chambers murder case for the past six months, said Tuesday’s shooting incident was much easier to investigate, with people willing to come forward and assist with the investigation.

Sheriff Darby commended his department’s investigators as well as the DA’s office stating, “They were in the thick of it late last night.”

The sheriff also commended Batesville’s Spec Ops unit and Panola County Emergency Management Agency.

The shooting occurred at approximately 8 p.m. when off-duty investigator Danny Beaver was notified by dispatch at his Courtland home that a shooting had occurred nearby. The area was quickly secured and later canine units were used from Emergency Management and Batesville’s Special Ops unit for a grid search to find any additional victims or evidence, Darby said.