Trial begins in officers’ killings

Published 11:44 pm Sunday, January 13, 2008

MERIDIAN (AP) — The capital murder trial of Ronald Husband, charged in the shooting deaths of two Wiggins police officers in 2005, was scheduled to begin Monday in Meridian.

Husband has pleaded innocent to the charges stemming from the Nov. 27, 2005, slayings of police officers Odell Fite, 48, and Brandon Breland, 23.

A Stone County jury will hear the case in Lauderdale County Circuit Court.

Email newsletter signup

The two officers were shot while responding to an emergency call from a Wiggins home.

Authorities said the call was made by Frances Arnold, who told investigators that after she had left her husband at Forrest General Hospital in Hattiesburg, she returned to Wiggins for clothes to take to the hospital.

Prosecutors said Husband, 46, who had been at the hospital, allegedly arrived at Arnold’s home, struck her several times, dragged her to the bedroom and attempted to tear off her clothes.

After the officers arrived at the home, Husband managed to get Fite’s department-issued handgun, according to court records. Both officers were shot twice.

A Stone County grand jury also indicted Husband as a habitual offender.

Husband had been sentenced in Forrest County in 1981 to five years in prison after he was convicted of sexual battery.

In a Pike County case, he was convicted of harassing phone calls in 1991 and sentenced to two years.