Homicide suspect surrenders here after national search

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 7, 2003

Sheriff Martin Pace, center, and Investigator Billy Joe Heggins escort homicide suspect Terence Truitt into the Warren County Jail late Thursday.(Jenny Sevcik The Vicksburg Post)

[11/7/03]Homicide suspect Terence Dante Truitt, 21, ended a 10-day national search by turning himself in at Jackson International Airport Thursday night.

“He surrendered to us peacefully at the airport,” Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace said. “We handcuffed him, and we walked to the car.”

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Truitt, also known as Terence Mozley Truitt, flew to Mississippi from an undisclosed out-of-state location. He was booked for murder in the Oct. 27 shooting death of a neighbor, Darrell Dwayne Kemper, 27, at Forest Hills Apartments, 320 Fisher Ferry Road.

District Attorney Gil Martin said Truitt’s attorney negotiated the surrender.

“He eventually would have been caught,” Martin said, “and I guess he knew that.” Martin said Truitt did the right thing by turning himself in.

Truitt’s flight left in Houston, but Martin said he didn’t know if that’s where Truitt had been before that.

Authorities believe Truitt went into No. 233 at the apartment complex just south of the city limits and fired two shots, walked outside the apartment and then back inside to fire two more shots.

Three children of Kemper’s girlfriend, who rented the apartment, were present when the shots were fired. Kemper died at the scene, said Warren County Coroner John Thomason.

Martin said Truitt’s arraignment would be either today or Monday.

Truitt, who lived in Apartment 232, left the complex after the shooting. The Sheriff’s Department impounded Truitt’s car, a maroon Cadillac DeVille, after it was found the day after the shooting in the parking lot of Keystone Ministries Store, 2320 Washington St., by Vicksburg police.

Columbus Palmer, 22, 505 Dabney Ave., was taken into custody that day and charged as an accessory. He is thought to have been inside the apartment when Kemper was shot.

Palmer was released from the Warren County Jail Oct. 31 on a $25,000 bond.

A neighbor at the 98-apartment complex said Truitt’s apartment had been broken into a few days before the shooting.

Another neighbor heard a person described as Truitt yell, “Don’t steal from me,” before entering Kemper’s apartment and firing shots.

There was no other indication what might have led to the shooting.