Grand jury set to get two cases of homicide|[1/22/06]

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 23, 2006

Evidence in two homicide cases is set to be heard by grand jurors this week when they convene in Warren County Circuit Court.

The criminal cases are among about 83 to be presented to the panel that is scheduled to be selected Monday, District Attorney Gil Martin said.

In one homicide, four Rolling Fork men are charged with capital murder and armed robbery in the death of construction-company owner Kenneth Williamson, who was found shot to death in his bed at 2841 U.S. 61 South on July 28. Charged are the man believed to be the gunman, Roderick Lewis, 26, 614 Rosenwald St.; Joshua Warren, 24, 239 Worthington Ave.; Josh Bee, 22, 87 Mulberry St.; and Derrick Hall, 19, 102 Worthington Ave.

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In the second slaying, Jarvis Donald, 2607 Pearl St., was shot once in the head as he sat in a car in a parking lot of a convenience store near Clay Street and Mission 66 about 7:18 p.m. on Aug. 13, investigators said. He died in a Jackson hospital the next day.

Lance Maniel, 24, 195 Countryside Drive, is charged with murder in the case.

The homicide cases are among the 83 being presented this week, a relatively high number for recent years’ January grand juries in Warren County, Martin said. He attributed the increase to a higher number of bad-check cases, about 26 or 27, up from the typical 10 to 15, Martin said.

He said his office has &#8220lost patience” with people who write bad checks and leave payees uncompensated.

&#8220It makes no sense not to pay a bad check or at least make arrangements to pay it,” Martin said, adding that most of the suspects do not live in Vicksburg. People who face such charges are tracked on a national database and are subject to arrest on the charges. The information follows them if they are stopped for a traffic violation and they are subject to arrest at their places of business, Martin added.

Also, four counts of eluding police, alleging people have driven away recklessly from marked patrol cars, will be presented.

Judge Frank Vollor is scheduled to preside over the grand jury, which is expected to be in session until Thursday afternoon, Martin said.

Grand juries are comprised of 18 to 21 citizens from a pool selected at random from county voter rolls. At least 12 must vote that enough evidence exists for a case to proceed to trial for an indictment to be returned.

Grand juries also have other broad responsibilities and latitude for independent investigation and recommendation on topics of public interest. They generally hear presentations from public officials, tour some public buildings and issue a written report including recommendations.