City man indicted for killing in July

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 25, 2004

[10/22/04]A Vicksburg man indicted for murder in a July killing told a Warren County circuit court judge Thursday that he is not guilty of the killing or two other charges against him.

Zachary Conner, 19, 127 Bazinsky Road, Apt. 210, was indicted by this week’s grand jury on charges of murder, armed robbery and shooting into a home in the killing July 8 of Christopher Cage, 44, 727 Adams St., Apt. 1.

The district attorney’s office presented the case against Conner as a murder case, while Vicksburg police, the arresting agency, had charged him and two others with capital murder, a charge leveled when a killing occurs in the commission of another felony.

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Two other men charged with capital murder in the same case remained in Warren County Jail, and no evidence against them was presented to the grand jury, though District Attorney Gil Martin said their cases could be presented to the grand jury being convened in January.

Police Chief Tommy Moffett repeated his concern that the cases of all three should be presented and all three should be indicted.

Conner is charged with shooting Cage multiple times with a .45-caliber pistol, using a pistol to rob Cage of his pants and his wallet and shooting into a home in the 500 block of Adams Street.

Conner stood with defense attorney Pat McNamara as he was arraigned Thursday morning before Judge Isadore Patrick. His trial was set for March 14.

If convicted, Conner could receive life in prison for a murder conviction, any term less than life for an armed-robbery conviction and 10 years if convicted of shooting into the home.

Investigators said after the killing that Conner and the other two charged with capital murder Jamaal Bell, 20, 727 Adams St., and Keon Hatchett, 17, 2907 Oak St. were together in a vehicle shortly after the shooting. The three were among eight people arrested within a day of the shooting.

The other five were charged with being accessories after the fact to capital murder.

Eight days later, charges were dropped against three of the five. The two who remain charged as accessories are Jessie Watson, 23, 2823 Acadia St., and Tashiba Williams, 19, 147 Elizabeth Circle.

Both have since been freed, Watson on $10,000 bond, and Williams, for medical reasons.

Then, on Aug. 25, 20-year-old Quintin Miles, 1512 Jefferson St., was arrested at Vicksburg High School and charged with being an accessory after the fact to capital murder. He is free on $5,000 bond.

Moffett said after Miles was arrested that police had recovered a weapon police believed was used in the shooting.

Moffett said his investigators’ work in the killing was solid.

“It was (Martin’s) decision to make,” Moffett said of the decision not to seek indictments against others this term. “From our standpoint we feel like” indictments against the other two should have been sought, and that Martin would consider presenting them to the next grand jury.

Others arraigned Thursday on indictments returned this week were:

Brian Allen Campbell, 37, 546 1st St., Flora, felony shoplifting.

Lonnie Ray Carson, 17, 104 Carver Drive, burglary and grand larceny.

David L. Doyle, 24, 1703 Martin Luther King Drive, possession of a weapon after a felony conviction.

Donald Robert Gray, 39, 2 Briar Lane, credit-card fraud.

Raymond Harvey, 26, 1312 1/2 Bowmar Ave., of Vicksburg, failure to register as a sex offender.

Ricky Hearn, 25, 109 Mary Hearn Lane, possession of pseudoephedrine or ephedrine.

Janet Hunter, 37, 1225 Ash St., felony shoplifting.

Eugene Lewis, 18, 5016 Gibson Road, three indictments, one for larceny of a motor vehicle, a second for two counts of larceny of a motor vehicle and a third for burglary and grand larceny.

William Paul Shelby, 24, 6868 U.S. 61 South, two indictments, one for grand larceny and a second for escape from confinement.

Mark Dwayne Sumrell, 34, 444 Wilmont Road, vehicle burglary and possession of burglar’s tools.

Reginald Swift, 43, 2553 Fountain Road, forgery.

Cerrick Dell Warren, 23, 1233 Harrison St., sale of cocaine.

Christopher Williams, 22, 1906 Martin Luther King Drive, possession of cocaine.

Charges presented in which fewer than 12 grand jurors voted to indict received “no-bills.” They were:

Jesse Aguilar, 24, 4804 Gibson Road, rape.

Roderick H. Finley, 40, 2918 Fisher Ferry Road, embezzlement.

L.C. Lumpkin, age and address unavailable, failure to register as a sex offender.

Money Sanders, age and address unavailable, failure to register as a sex offender.

Lorant Wells, age and address unavailable, failure to register as a sex offender.