Suspects in Cupps slaying ordered back to Mississippi

Published 11:39 am Thursday, September 22, 2011

JACKSON — A federal judge has ordered authorities to bring two Louisiana inmates to Mississippi to face charges that they kidnapped and killed a businessman after escaping from a prison work program.

Ricky Wedgeworth, 36, and Darian “Drake” Pierce, 34, were indicted Sept. 8 on charges including kidnapping and carjacking in the abduction in Vicksburg and death of Ohio businessman David Cupps.

They are scheduled to appear in federal court in Jackson on Oct. 12. They have been held in the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola.

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There was an intense search for the men in several Southern states between the time of their March 4 escape from a Louisiana State Police compound and their capture March 14 in Memphis, Tenn.

They are charged with kidnapping Cupps from a hotel in Vicksburg before dumping his body at a hotel in Bessemer, Ala.

Cupps, who was from the Columbus suburb of Sunbury, Ohio, had been beaten and strangled to death. Authorities have said he was in Mississippi to inspect the Grand Gulf nuclear power plant.

Wedgeworth and Pierce escaped from a Louisiana State Police compound north of Baton Rouge. Wedgeworth was serving time for armed robbery, and Pierce was locked up for attempted second-degree murder.