Year in review: Crime, code enforcement, elections, Adams County Jail among most read stories

Published 5:12 pm Friday, December 29, 2023

NATCHEZ — Like in many — but no all — communities, crime stories are well read among The Natchez Democrat’s audience.

The most read stories in 2023 in The Natchez Democrat and its website were those related to crime in the Miss-Lou. Among the crime stories, the numerous stories and follow ups from the deadly shooting that claimed two lives in the parking lot area near Cash Savers on May 5 were the most read.

Travione Jones, 19, and Devin Winchester, also 19, were gunned down that Friday at about 10 p.m. as they stood outside vehicles in the parking lot at what was once known as Magnolia Mall.

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Gunmen with assault rifles fired from a vehicle right outside the supermarket, leaving more than 30 spent shells on the asphalt for officers to gather and use as evidence.

Four arrests have been made to date related to the shooting. They include:

• Kadeem Rykeim Conner, 25, and Mark Jordan Mitchell, 32, both of Natchez. Both have been charged with two counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder.

• Douglas Mazique, 28, was charged with conspiracy to commit murder. He was a prison guard at Adams County Correctional Center at the time of his arrest.

• and Tywone Marquise Noble, 27, of Purvis, on a charge of conspiracy to commit murder.

Police claim the shooting was the result of a feud among the men involved. Winchester is thought to have been an innocent bystander.

• As equally well read were the numerous stories involving the double-murder, ambush style, that took the lives of Brandon Brooks, 26, and Taron Woods, 24, on Myrtle Drive on Aug. 10.

Both men were shot multiple times by three men, all dressed in black with their faces covered, using assault rifles.

Jamarion Perkins, 17, Jadarrius James McKnight, 24, and Emanual Hall, were identified and arrested and charged each with two counts of murder by the Adams County Sheriff’s Office.

Zackeri Reason, 18, was arrested and charged with being an accessory before the act of murder.

Other most read stories involving crimes include:

• The mother and son duo in Ridgecrest, Louisiana, who were arrested as part of a multi-agency drug bust that led to the recovery of cash, a variety of drugs and drug paraphernalia.

Arrested were Patsy Jackson and Larry Jackson Jr.

• On July 16, an Adams County Sheriff’s deputy was forced to take deadly action against a man who was holding a woman against her will.

Deputies were forced to shoot Charoyd Henrence Bell, 43, at an address at 564 Old Highway 84 No. 3, after Bell shot at the victim and officers.

• A video showing a May 16 attack on a female Natchez Police officer by a juvenile female was among the most viewed in 2023 on NatchezDemocrat.com.

The officer, who had been on the job for about two years, was applauded by city residents for the restraint she showed during the attack.

• On Feb. 15, a California man, Arthur Wilson, 57, was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison for his involvement in a conspiracy to traffic more than a quarter million dollars’ worth of methamphetamine and marijuana in Natchez.

• Another well read story involved the arrest of Jamal Watson on April 7 for shooting into an RV leaving the La Fiesta restaurant on John R. Junkin Drive.

Jamal is still jailed, awaiting trial. He with four counts attempted murder.

• The April 25 story involving a new law in Concordia Parish banning Kratom sales parish wise.

• The arrest of truck driver Santoris D. Stirgus, 28, of Jackson, Louisiana, who drove a semi-tractor trailer through Vidalia that contained counterfeit money, multiple controlled substances, a loaded firearm with two magazines and several open containers of alcohol.

Concordia Parish deputies observed Stirgus exiting a daiquiri shop with a large cup in his hands. While speaking to him, deputies noted he exhibited signs of impairment and discovered the items in his vehicle.

Elections

The results of the primary election in August and general election in November were among top 2023 stories.

All five Adams County Supervisors were elected to new four-year terms, including Supervisor Angela Hutchins, who faced no opposition.

Danny Barber won the Justice Court Judge Southern District race after defeating incumbent Eileen Maher in the primary and other challengers in the general election, including Tim Blalock, Mary Francis Willard and Jack Blaney.

Adams County Sheriff Travis Patten was elected to a third term in office and Tim Cotton defeated Shameca Collins for the Sixth Circuit District Attorney’s seat.

Code enforcement

Stories involving the approval of a special privilege license for Truth Lounge allowing it to operate on Franklin Street, and the subsequent closing of that lounge after fights and issues outside the nightclub were well read by Democrat readers.

The nightclub has reopened and few new issues have been reported to date.

The issue of a cannabis dispensary and zoning issues related to it in Tracetown Shopping Center and the renovation of Nellie Jackson’s house on North Rankin were well read.

Adams County Jail

Stories involving continued issues with the Adams County Jail which eventually led to its closing and the county contracting with Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office for housing prisoners were closely followed by Democrat readers.

Among those was the death of 37-year-old Lacey Handjis, who was held in the jail by an order of commitment from the Adams County Chancery Clerk’s office.

She was delivered from Montgomery County and dropped off at the jail. Handjis was placed in a padded holding cell, where she was discovered dead the next morning.