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2 face murder charges in Saturday shootings in Natchez

NATCHEZ — Two men were in custody on murder charges Monday in connection with a series of Saturday morning shootings that occurred in several locations throughout Natchez.

Jamaien Washington, 20, and Darryl K. Hurts Jr., 20, both face charges of murder, four counts of aggravated assault, one charge of drive-by shooting, shooting into a dwelling, shooting into a vehicle and felony malicious mischief, Natchez Police Chief Walter Armstrong said.

Also on Monday, Adams County Sheriff Travis Patten said he was responding to a tip about a large cache of weapons at a residence on Country Club Drive and on the way saw a black Nissan car parked under a tree at Broadmoor and Country Club Drive, and he got out to investigate.

A passenger in the car, Patten said, turned out to be Darnell D. Stevenson, who was being sought in connection to Saturday’s shootings as a person of interest.

Patten made the arrest personally and Stevenson was in custody Monday of the Natchez Police Department for questioning.

Also, Patten said the sheriff’s office charged Stevenson with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of a stolen firearm, because Stevenson had pleaded guilty Aug. 3, 2017, to a felony charge of conspiracy to commit armed robbery. Stevenson, Patten said, was out on parole when he was arrested Monday.

The car also was transported to the Natchez Police Department, Patten said.

Stevenson and Hurts, court records show, were both recently released from prison after serving time for their parts in a 2015 crime that killed a man and injured a pregnant woman in Adams County, court records show.

For their parts in the 2015 crime, Stevenson and Hurts pleaded guilty to lesser charges of conspiracy to commit armed robbery, after initially being charged with murder and three counts of attempted murder and armed robbery each.

Hurts signed a waiver of indictment, which is essentially a guilty plea, in Adams County Circuit Court on March 27, 2017, to a charge of conspiracy to commit armed robbery in the 2015 shooting.

For that crime, Hurts was sentenced to five years in prison or time served. Hurts had since been released from prison before his arrest Monday, although his prison release date was unclear Monday.

Stevenson entered a guilty plea to conspiracy to commit armed robbery on Aug. 3, 2017, and was currently out on parole when he was arrested Monday, Patten said.

“We are anticipating more arrests,” Armstrong said. “We are aggressively working this case. Most of our investigators are working this case and will continue to work it until we bring all the suspects in in this heinous crime, and all will be brought to justice.”

The arrests are the result of a joint investigation involving the Natchez Police Department, the Adams County Sheriff’s Office and other state law enforcement agencies, Armstrong said.

Hurts turned himself in to the sheriff’s office earlier Monday, Patten said, and is now in custody of the Natchez Police Department.

Armstrong said Saturday that five other suspects were in custody.

The shootings occurred in the early morning hours Saturday, killing Lewis Jackson III, 25, outside of Holiday Apartments in Natchez. Two other men were injured in shootings at Brenham Avenue and Aldrich Street.

Armstrong said early investigation led law enforcement officers to believe the shootings were in retaliation for an Oct. 1, 2017, shooting in which several men rode around town shooting out of the back of a pickup truck, killing one man.

Nine suspects were arraigned on those charges earlier this month.

A similar shooting at multiple locations in Natchez occurred in the afternoon of Sept. 15, killing one man and injuring two others.

No suspect has yet been arrested in the Sept. 15 case.

Investigators said that shooting also was believed to be in retaliation for the Oct. 1, 2017, shootings.

Armstrong said anyone caught harboring suspects in the case would face felony harboring charges.



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