The woman was identified as 23-year-old Sarah Jones of Memphis, Tennessee. She was struck and killed on Oak Grove Road near River Oaks and Scott Road early in the morning while riding a bicycle.
Hernando Police Chief Mike Riley said the woman’s body was discovered by a passerby about 7:30 a.m. on Oak Grove Road.
The man charged with murder was identified by Riley as James Whitten Jr., 55, of Hernando. According to the police, Whitten lives less than a half mile from where the body was found. Though there is an ongoing investigation into the matter, it appears the two individuals may have been involved in a relationship. Whitten has a prior criminal record and served prison sentences over a 17-year period for various offenses including drug and weapon charges.
Murder is discussed in Mississippi Code Section 97-3-19 and the law says that:
1. The killing of a human being without the authority of law by any means or in any manner shall be murder in the following cases:
a. When done with deliberate design to effect the death of the person killed, or of any human being;
b. When done in the commission of an act eminently dangerous to others and evincing a depraved heart, regardless of human life, although without any premeditated design to effect the death of any particular individual;
c. When done without any design to effect death by any person engaged in the commission of any felony other than rape, kidnapping, burglary, arson, robbery, sexual battery, unnatural intercourse with any child under the age of twelve (12), or nonconsensual unnatural intercourse with mankind, or felonious abuse and/or battery of a child in violation of subsection (2) of Section 97-5-39, or in any attempt to commit such felonies;
d. When done with deliberate design to effect the death of an unborn child.
It is likely that provision (a) or (b) will apply, depending on what the investigators determine occurred the morning of the accident. Riley did not release further details about the incident but said the woman’s body had been sent to the Mississippi Crime Lab in Jackson for an autopsy. The vehicle thought to be involved was also sent to Mississippi Highway Patrol investigators in Batesville for further examination.
In such serious matters, it is critically important to make sure you hire the right lawyer to handle your case. If you are in need of an experienced Mississippi criminal defense lawyer, please call us today at 833-536-5656 for a free consultation.
Source: “Man charged with murder in hit and run,” by Robert Lee Long, published at DeSotoTimesTribune.com.