Escapees captured in Memphis

Published 6:42 pm Monday, March 14, 2011

Two escaped prisoners accused of kidnapping and carjacking an Ohio man in Vicksburg before killing him were in custody Monday evening in Shelby County, Tenn.

Darian “Drake” Pierce and Ricky Wedgeworth were in custody after a chase in the Tennessee county where Memphis is the county seat, said Vicksburg Lt. Bobby Stewart.

“Several agencies, including one from Olive Branch, Miss., were involved in the chase” that ended in a wreck and one of the suspects being treated at a Memphis hospital, Stewart said.

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He said the arrests came at about 5:30 p.m.

Pierce, 33, and Wedgeworth, 36, escapees from a Louisiana prison near Baton Rouge on March 4, are accused of killing David Cupps, 53, after carjacking and kidnapping him March 7 from a parking lot on Pemberton Square Boulevard.

His body was found Wednesday outside a Bessemer, Ala., motel. An autopsy showed he had been beaten and strangled.

Stewart said U.S. Attorneys Offices in Alabama and Mississippi are expected to the prosecute the case against the two men.

“We’re trying to get rid of jurisdictional restraints,” Stewart said.

He said the death penalty, which is rarely used in federal cases, possibly could be used in these cases because a death occurred in a kidnapping and carjacking, both federal crimes.

Read more in The Vicksburg Post Tuesday