Recent escapee Tayshon Holmes arraigned for July 2021 murder of Bill Calvin Jr.; pleads not guilty

Published 7:39 pm Wednesday, January 31, 2024

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NATCHEZ — Tayshon Holmes was arraigned Wednesday morning in Sixth District Circuit Court for the murder of Bill Calvin Jr. after being indicted by a grand jury.

Tayshon Holmes mugshot from ACSO arrest on Jan. 12.

Holmes, 17, pleaded not guilty before Circuit Court Judge Debra Blackwell. Holmes was represented by appointed public defender Jeffrey Harness.

Holmes and two other teens — Robert Earl Smith, 16, and Jashon Jones, 15 — escaped from the Henley-Young-Patton Juvenile Justice Center in Hinds County on Jan. 7.

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On Jan. 8, law enforcement officials say the trio carjacked an Adams County woman near Stanton Baptist Church on U.S. 61 north of Natchez, stealing her car and shooting her twice, once in the neck and once in the back, officials said. She survived her injuries.

The Adams County Sheriff’s Office, working with the Natchez Police Department and other Miss-Lou law enforcement agencies, captured the three in the area of Gayosa Street in Natchez on Jan. 12. Holmes has been in the custody of the Adams County Sheriff’s Office since his capture.

Smith was being held on first-degree murder charges and Jones was being held on felony armed robbery and auto theft.

The capture of the three returned a sense of peace to the community that had been gripped with fear for almost a week while the escapees were on the loose here.

Justice Court Judge Danny Barber ordered Holmes held on a total of $3 million bond. However, Blackwell told Holmes Wednesday morning he would be held without bond and be placed in the custody of the Adams County Sheriff’s Office until his trial, which she set for June 11 in Sixth District Circuit Court.

“You are not entitled to bond,” Blackwell told Holmes.

Calvin was murdered in Natchez on July 25, 2021. However, his remains were not found until the Adams County Sheriff’s Office was able to locate them in a wooded area on Oct. 26, 2021.

Evidence led to Holmes’ arrest at that time and Holmes, who was 15 at the time, was charged with Calvin’s murder as an adult. Bond was set at $500,000.

On Jan. 6, 2022, then-Circuit Court Judge Lillie Blackmon Sanders reduced Holmes’ bond to $100,000, and he was able to make that bond and was released from custody.

While out on bond, Holmes was arrested again on Sept. 17, 2022, in Jackson and charged with aggravated assault after shooting his stepfather. He was being held on that charge at the Hinds County juvenile detention center.

The January incident was not Holmes’ first escape. Ironically, Holmes escaped with the same two — Smith and Jones — from the same detention center on June 27, 2023. The three used shanks to overpower a guard, injure two other inmates and take the guard’s keys. Smith was taken back into custody soon after the escape, but Holmes and Jones were on the loose until their arrest by Capitol Police officers in Jackson on July 6, 2023.

Sixth Circuit District Attorney Tim Cotton, who did not take office until Jan. 1, said the case was not taken before a grand jury by the previous administration until the May term of 2023 and the indictment was not filed until July 2023.