Victim ID’d; 8 arrested in slaying

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 19, 2004

Vicksburg police investigators Dewayne Smith, left, and Johnnie Edwards, right, escort Zachary Connor to a car for transport to the Warren County Jail Friday afternoon. (Brian LodenThe Vicksburg Post)

[7/10/04]A Vicksburg man was identified as the victim of a Friday night robbery and slaying, and eight arrests have now been made in the case.

The victim was identified as Christopher Cage, 44, 727 Adams St., Apt. 1, said Vicksburg Police Department Capt. Mark Culbertson. Cage’s body was found by Vicksburg police at 12:04 a.m. on Fayette Street near the intersection of Cherry Street.

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Six people were arrested early Friday morning following the discovery of the body. Two other suspects were arrested Friday afternoon, including Zachary Connor, 19, 127 Bazinsky Road, Apt. 210, who was arrested Friday at 4:06 p.m. at 1512 Baum St.

Vicksburg police received an anonymous tip from a caller, who said Connor was at Evans Alley in a residence, Vicksburg Police Detective Tom Wilson said.

“We went house-to-house on Baum Street and Evans Alley until we found him inside a residence,” he said.

Connor, who Wilson identified as the shooter, was charged with capital murder along with two others. The other five people arrested were charged with accessory to capital murder.

Besides Connor, the other people arrested include:

Jamaal Bell, 20, 522 Bowmar Ave., arrested at 5:21 a.m. at 727 Adams St. and charged with capital murder.

Keon Hatchett, 17, 2907 Oak St., arrested at 6:07 a.m. at his home and charged with capital murder.

Jimmie Renee Felix, 21, 313 Pleasant Valley, arrested at 5:21 a.m. at 727 Adams St. and charged with accessory to capital murder.

Tashiba Williams, 18, 147 Elizabeth Circle, arrested at 5:21 a.m. at 727 Adams St. and charged with accessory to murder.

George Deon Scott, 24, 503 Dabney Ave., arrested at 6:02 a.m. at his home and charged with accessory to capital murder.

Tameka Washington, 18, 427 Pittman Road, arrested at 6:02 a.m. at 503 Dabney Ave. and charged with accessory to capital murder.

Jessie Watson, 23, 2823 Acadia St., arrested at 3:06 p.m. at the Vicksburg Police Department and charged with accessory to murder.

All eight charged were being held without bond in the Warren County Jail Friday evening.

An autopsy at the Mississippi Mortuary Services in Pearl Friday night found that Cage died of multiple gunshot wounds to the upper body, Warren County Deputy Coroner Larry Chisley said. Gunshot wounds were also found on the elbow and ankle, he said.

Chisley had no details Friday evening regarding where Cage’s body was taken after the autopsy.

Culbertson said two calls were received by Vicksburg police that alerted them of the shooting. At 11:44 p.m., a caller reported that shots were fired through the door of a residence on Adams Street. Culbertson said it was a wild shot from the shooting that struck the house.

The second call came in shortly after and reported the body lying on the side of Fayette Street, Culbertson said.

Cage’s slaying is the first homicide in Vicksburg this year. The last one reported was when Terence Dante Truitt, 21, was charged with murder in the Oct. 27 shooting death of a neighbor, Darrell Dewayne Kemper, 27, at Forest Hills Apartments, 320 Fisher Ferry Road. Truitt was indicted by a Warren County grand jury in May.

If a jury finds that a suspect is guilty of capital murder, a second trial phase is held to determine the penalty, which can include execution. If the jury cannot agree on the death penalty, the judge must impose a life sentence.

In Mississippi, one class of capital murder required proof of a separate felony, such as arson, rape, robbery or kidnapping.