Thursday, December 29, 2005

Battery, burglary suspects in custody charged

Staff Writer

A suspect was apprehended and taken to the Marshall County jail last week on charges of two counts sexual battery of two young girls, according to Sheriff Kenny Dickerson.

“Myself and officers of the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office responded to an emergency call to the Victoria area in the early morning hours of December 21 relative to the molestation and rape of two girls,” Dickerson said.

Prior to the arrival of law officers with the sheriff’s department and the Byhalia Police Department at the home, the suspect, Patrick D. Smith, 20, fled the residence where he had been staying for a few days with relatives, Dickerson said.

The incident was reported by the mother of the children.

Chief Mike Novay and the K-9 police dog and handler with the Byhalia Police Department and the DeSoto County helicopter assisted Marshall County deputies in an extensive one and a half hour manhunt.

The suspect was found hiding in a vehicle about a quarter mile from the residence, Dickerson said.

Physical evidence at the scene as well as evidence gathered by the ambulance service supported the mother’s complaint, he said. The girls were taken to a medical facility in Oxford for examination and treatment.

“We have good reason to believe and do believe at least one of the children was molested four or five days prior and the second child a few days later,” Dickerson said.

Smith, who gave his address as 11500 Chico Road, Little Rock, Ark., has been charged with two counts sexual battery and remains in jail, Dickerson said. Authorities also learned that Smith was out of jail on bond from the state of Arkansas on similar charges there, he said.

“Due to Smith being out on bond in Arkansas and the seriousness of these charges, I will recommend he not be given bond,” Dickerson said. “We thank Chief Novay, his officers and the K-9 unit and DeSoto County in supporting our search and helping apprehend the suspect. This is another good example of how cooperation of this nature helps in the apprehension of fleeing suspects.”

In a separate incident last week, three suspects were apprehended following a home invasion on Old Highway 4 West.

Dickerson said one of the suspects removed the air conditioner from a lady’s window and went inside the building, then fled on foot into the woods as law officers arrived.

No items were taken from the residence, he said.

Julius Eugene Hunter, 26, of 365 West Street, Apartment A, Holly Springs was later identified and taken into custody and charged with burglary of an inhabited dwelling, Dickerson said. Hunter remains in jail on $20,000 bond.

Hunter allegedly used a cell phone to call Lonnie Bogard Jr., 25, of 370 Brigance Lane, Holly Springs, to ask for for a ride after fleeing the scene on foot.

Dickerson said Bogard is in custody charged with accessory after the fact of burglary and is being held on $10,000 bond.

A third suspect, Keith E. Muhammad, 19, of 363 South Center Street, Holly Springs, is also charged as a principal in the case of burglary. Muhammad allegedly drove Hunter to the residence where the house invasion took place, Dickerson said. Muhammad was released last week on $10,000 secured bond, the sheriff said.

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