2 to go before federal judge in kidnapping, killing

Published 11:31 am Wednesday, October 12, 2011

JACKSON — Two Louisiana prison escapees who are accused of kidnapping and killing an Ohio man who was in Vicksburg for a business trip were to face charges in federal court today.

The hearing had been set for this morning, but was moved to the afternoon.

Ricky Wedgeworth, 36, and Darian “Drake” Pierce, 34, were indicted Sept. 8 on charges including kidnapping and carjacking in the abduction and death of 53-year-old David Cupps of Sunbury.

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Authorities have said he was in Mississippi to inspect the Grand Gulf nuclear power plant, which is south of Vicksburg in Claiborne County.

An intense, multi-state search for the men occurred between the time of their March 4 escape from a Louisiana State Police compound in Zachary and their capture March 14 in Memphis.

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

Cupps had been beaten and strangled.

At the time of their escape, Wedgeworth had been serving time in Louisiana for armed robbery, and Pierce for attempted second-degree murder.