Teenager arrested in killing, to appear in court

Published 11:34 am Monday, May 9, 2011

Fourteen-year-old murder suspect Tyla Denise Vega was expected to appear in Warren County Justice Court as early as this afternoon following her arrest Sunday night in Greenville.

Vega is accused of the shooting death a week ago of her stepmother, Michelle Vega, 32, in the family home at 100 Jones Road.

An eighth-grader at Vicksburg Junior High School, Tyla Vega had been sought by Warren County law enforcement for nearly a week when she was arrested around 7:20 by the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force and Greenville police at a residence “believed to be the home of an acquaintance,” Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace said this morning.

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“The marshals’ office and the Greenville Police Department are today attempting to establish if the people at the residence even knew that she was wanted,” Pace said.

He was awaiting word from justice court officials on whether Tyla Vega’s initial hearing would be today or Tuesday. Bond could be set by the court or she could continue to be held at the Warren County Jail without bond until the Warren County Grand Jury can review the evidence against her and, if it’s sufficient, issue an indictment.

Tyla Vega will be prosecuted as an adult, said District Attorney Ricky Smith.

Mississippi law requires that juveniles 13 and older accused of crimes such as murder and those that include the use or attempted use of a deadly weapon be tried as adults, said Smith. The accusation against Tyla Vega falls into both categories, he said.

“The nature of this case demands that this office prosecute it and we will, just as we would any other, regardless of her age,” Smith said.

Her arrest was made without incident, Pace said, and followed the discovery of the 2002 Dodge Durango neighbors said she was driving when she left the Jones Road home minutes before Michelle Vega’s body was found. The Durango had been found Saturday in a parking lot in Greenville.

Warren County Coroner Doug Huskey said Michelle Vega died from a gunshot wound to the head.

Pace said Warren County Detectives Stacy Rollison and Billy Joe Heggins traveled to Greenville Sunday night, picked up Tyla Vega and returned her to the Warren County Jail.

Greenville police would not comment this morning on the arrest.