Years after, woman charged in Vicksburg man’s Lamar County death|[12/01/07]

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 1, 2007

Five and a half years after their son was found dead in Lamar County, the Vicksburg parents of James Neal May said they were relieved an arrest had been made, but, for now, wanted to say little else.

May, who was 22, was a senior at the University of Southern Mississippi and had a home in neighboring Lamar County. On May 1, 2002, he was found in that home with a gunshot wound in the head.

Arrested Nov. 6 was Jennifer D. Wardle, 26, of 126 Old Highway 49 in Brooklyn, a small community south of Hattiesburg, according to a brief news release from the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office issued Friday. There was no indication of why state prosecutors are involved. She was charged with murder based on an October grand jury indictment and released on bond. No trial date was available, nor was the amount of Wardle’s bond.

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Marvin Breazeale, who was sheriff at the time, contacted Friday, said he has no memory of May’s death. Danny Rigel, now sheriff for the county, said May died before he took office and no officers now employed by the sheriff’s department were involved.

“We are happy that the attorney general’s office got us where we are now,” said May’s father, also named James. “The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation is also to be thanked.” The MBI is the investigative division of the Mississippi Department of Public Safety and its detectives are often asked to probe cases where local investigators fail or where there is a potential conflict.

May’s father said he and his wife, Peggi May, would have little comment because they were “awaiting guidance” from prosecutors, with whom they have apparently been in contact since their son’s death.

Neal May was a 1998 graduate of Warren Central High and a graduate of Jones County Junior College in Ellisville and a member of First Baptist Church in Vicksburg.