Trio of suspects boast lengthy criminal records

Published 4:14 pm Friday, August 18, 2023

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By Jan Griffey and Sabrina Robertson 

NATCHEZ — Violent crimes ranging from assault to murder are part of the criminal history of suspects in the Aug. 10 ambush killing of two men in Morgantown.

“We have worked diligently to take criminals off the street and something seems to always come up or a witness recants statements or they possibly even die prior to trial,” Adams County Sheriff Travis Patten said. “With the work we have put in on this incident, we are hoping that is not the case. 

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“We have lots of physical evidence we have collected and we are going to do everything on our end to make certain the judicial system has all it needs to bring to an end the criminal activity of these individuals,” Patten said. “It is disheartening when things don’t work out in other parts of the system and criminals are returned to the streets.”

Adams County Sheriff’s deputies found Brandon Brooks, 26, and Taron Woods, 24, lying on the ground outside a house on Myrtle Drive in Natchez, having died from multiple gunshots. Video of the incident shows three armed men dressed in dark-colored clothing including gloves and full-face covers carrying out the murders in what Sheriff Travis Patten called an ambush-style attack.

Jadarrius J. McKnight, 24, was arrested Aug. 16 along with Jamarion “Jamari” Perkins, 17, and both face charges of two counts of murder in connection with this case. Zackeri Reason, 18, was arrested Aug. 17 and charged with accessory before the fact.

A fourth suspect – Emanuel Hall, 22 – is still at large and faces two counts of murder.

In examining the criminal history of the suspects, the sheriff said that Hall is also known as Emanuel Hill, who has an extensive criminal history.

Here’s what records show about the three suspects who are over the age of 18:


Zackeri Reason

Reason was free on bond for a murder charge in Fayette at the time of the Natchez killings.

Reason was allegedly party to the murder of Seth Hedrick at Martin Luther King Apartments in Fayette during an attempted robbery in October 2022, authorities said. He was 17 at that time.

He was charged with the murder along with another teen from Natchez, Zarrius Johnson, who was 16.


Jadarrius J. McKnight

McKnight has a lengthy record of crimes as well as violent charges being dropped later on in the court process.

He was 15 years old when he was arrested in early December 2014 on three counts of aggravated assault, according to past news reports. 

He was charged as an adult, as were two other teenagers at the time. A fourth suspect, 16, who police said did not actually fire a weapon, was charged as a juvenile.

McKnight was allegedly one of three others who opened fire with handguns on a vehicle after telling the occupants of the vehicle they didn’t want them in the Maryland Heights neighborhood. One person was struck in the arm with a bullet, another was grazed on the side of the head by a bullet and another was grazed on the leg.

Police at the time said McKnight and others charged were attempting to control who came in and out of the neighborhood.

On Aug. 17, 2015, an aggravated assault case against McKnight had been transferred to youth court, where court records are sealed, by order of former Judge Forrest A. Johnson.

In late December 2016, McKnight, then 17, was charged in the shooting death of 21-year-old Destiney Kennedy, who was killed at the Natchez Youth Center. However, Natchez Police Chief Daniel White on Jan. 11, 2017, said those charges against McKnight had been dropped.

Later that year, McKnight was one of several arrested in what has been described as a “shooting spree” on Oct. 1, 2017, in which multiple men allegedly drove around downtown Natchez in a white pickup truck and randomly fired more than 130 shots from a high-powered assault rifle.

However, McKnight’s charges in that case were later dismissed by the district attorney’s office, which received information that McKnight “was not a participant” in this incident. 

At least two other charges of aggravated assault against McKnight were introduced and dismissed later on in the court process because witnesses were either not found or wouldn’t testify, court records show.

In an arrest on Jan. 26, 2019, McKnight, then 19, was charged with possession of stolen firearms and possession of schedule I marijuana with intent to distribute and a firearms enhancement and resisting arrest.

After a search warrant was executed at the home McKnight fled from, deputies found a loaded Smith & Wesson .40 caliber weapon, a loaded Glock 23, which had been reported stolen from Vidalia, Louisiana, a loaded Glock 22, a loaded Phoenix Arms .25 caliber pistol, a loaded Anderson Arms AR-15 with a brass catcher, a loaded Chinese SKS rifle with a sawed-off stock, another loaded Anderson Arms AR-15 with a brass catcher and nine ounces of marijuana.

On Sept. 24, 2020, McKnight was sentenced to 10 years, five years suspended with credit for time served, and five years of post-release supervision for the charge of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute by former Judge Lillie Blackmon Sanders, court records show.

McKnight would still be on probation for his Sept. 2020 sentencing during the Aug. 10 shooting.


Emmanuel Hill

On July 8, 2019, Adams County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Hill, then 18, along with his younger brother, 17, and a cousin, 16, and charged all as adults on charges of attempted murder and shooting into an occupied dwelling on Ingram Circle in the Kenny Graves subdivision. One person was shot in the back.

On Oct. 26, 2019, Hill, 18, was arrested and charged with four counts of aggravated assault manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life in an Oct. 20, 2019, shooting on Watts Avenue in Maryland Heights.

On Oct. 12, 2020, District Attorney Shameca Collins requested the dismissal of an aggravated assault charge against Hill because a “necessary witness” could not be located and was unable to testify. The dismissal was granted by Judge Debra Blackwell.

Court records of other previously reported charges against Hill could not be found at the Circuit Clerk’s office. No one at the District Attorney or Clerk’s office could be reached to clarify the status of those cases at the time of this report.

On Oct. 31, 2021, Hill, 20, was apparently the victim of a crime when he was shot in the left arm during an incident near Club Legacy on D’Evereux Drive. Hill’s cousin, Isaac Hill, 19, suffered a gunshot wound to the pelvis in the incident.

Adams County Sheriff’s Office is in the process of enlisting help from the U.S. Marshal’s Service to locate Hill (Hall).

Anyone with information about his whereabouts is asked to contact the sheriff’s office or to contact CrimeStoppers at 1-888-442-5001 to leave an anonymous tip.

A reward up to $10,000 has been offered through CrimeStoppers for any information leading to the suspect’s arrest.