Vigil Saturday for Edwards man shot dead by Copiah deputy

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 19, 2003

A vigil will be held Saturday at Brushy Creek M.B. Church in Georgetown for an Edwards man who was shot and killed by a Copiah County Sheriff’s Deputy last month.

Claiborne County District Attorney Alexander Martin has identified the deputy involved in the fatal shooting of Robert Lee, 57, as David McMillan.

“We hope to gain justice, education as well as prayer,” said Addie Green, Lee’s sister who said she is frustrated over the lack of information she’s been provided about her brother’s death.

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Lee was shot Jan. 4 after McMillan responded to a 911 call to a roadside along the Hinds-Copiah line.

A witness to Lee’s initial conversation with the deputy said the officer was called because, “Lee had set a fire too close to the side of the road.

“A sheriff’s deputy came out; I don’t know if he meant to arrest Lee or not, but Lee ran into the woods,” said Ernest O’Quinn who also said he saw the deputy run into the woods after Lee.

Minutes later, O’Quinn said, there were gunshots. “It was several shots, about four or five all together,” he said.

Green said she cannot understand why the investigating agencies assigned to the case have been so quiet about the case.

“I guess they don’t want the people to know what happened,” she said.

Copiah County Sheriff Frank Ainsworth and state investigators have kept a tight lid on information.

“We can’t release anything on a case like that until we present it to the grand jury,” said Col. Jim Box, investigations director for the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol. “We should be just about through with the investigation, we are waiting on test results to come back from the crime lab.”

Box said information gathered during the investigation would be turned over to Alexander.

“Once the investigation is complete, I will take it to the Copiah grand jury,” Martin said.

Green, who has said her brother was murdered, said an autopsy report given to her by Copiah Coroner Phil Howard listed the cause of death as “a gunshot wound to the back, right forearm distant or near contact and perforating with a re-entry gunshot wound to the right flank, gunshot wound to the chest, distant or near contact perforating with re-enter perforating gunshot wound to the left arm.”

Howard has said he gave Green a preliminary autopsy report “to help them understand what happened,” but refused to discuss the report.

Green said state Rep. Jim Evans will be the guest speaker at the 11 a.m. vigil. “He will enlighten us on nine unsolved murders in Mississippi, including my brother’s murder,” she said.