Man jailed on charge of murder

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 2, 2006

NATCHEZ &8212; One man is dead and another is being held on a murder charge following an argument early Saturday morning in the Montebello subdivision.

John Christopher Case, 29, of 17 Beechwood Lane, is being held in the Natchez City Jail without bond in connection with the death of Billy Dean Arnold Jr., 38, 34 Melanie Road.

Case allegedly beat Arnold to death in Case&8217;s driveway at about 1:45 a.m. after the two arrived back at Case&8217;s home from a downtown bar, Police Chief Mike Mullins said.

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&8220;They got into a fight, and Arnold sustained severe head injury and died in the ambulance on the way&8221; to Natchez Regional Medical Center, Mullins said.

Case called 911 to report the incident, Mullins said.

Mullins would not confirm what started the argument.

An autopsy performed on Arnold in Jackson later Saturday showed Arnold did die of blunt trauma to the head, Coroner James Lee said.

&8220;We don&8217;t have any reason to believe the injuries were caused by anything other than someone&8217;s fists,&8221; Lee said.

Arnold&8217;s death is the first homicide in Natchez-Adams County this year.

Tanya Taylor, Arnold&8217;s aunt, said Arnold leaves behind a wife and two small children.

&8220;And for those children, it will be very hard because not only do they have to deal with the loss of Dean, but the way he died,&8221; Taylor said. &8220;Dean was a good man. This was a heinous and cruel crime. He didn&8217;t deserve to die.&8221; Taylor also asked that the public pray for Arnold&8217;s family.