Thursday, April 19, 2007
Suspects caught in weekend stabbing
By SUE WATSON
Two suspects were in the custody of the Memphis Police Department Tuesday, with extradition to Marshall County to face capital murder and aggravated assault charges expected soon, said Sheriff Kenny Dickerson.
Two men suffered stab wounds with one dead at the scene and the other, also with burn wounds, fighting for life at The Memphis Med following an incident in the Watson community Saturday afternoon.
The stabbings, which took the life of Tolbert Sholar Jr, 61, of 1121 Highway 309 South near Byhalia, and critically injured Reamus Williams at his residence off Woods Road near Watson, are believed to have been motivated by robbery, Dickerson said.
Both victims were found outside Williams’ residence a short distance from the burning home by medical personnel and Sheriff Dickerson following a call to 911 related to smoke and fire at the small house.
Dickerson said Williams’ home was engulfed in flames when they arrived at the scene to find Williams lying on the ground in heavy vegetation on the west side of his burning home. Moments later the body of Sholar was discovered in a bloody crime scene near the front and east sides of the house.
Dickerson, who described the crime scene as one of the most gruesome he has seen in his 35 years of law enforcement, said the victims appeared to have struggled with assailants inside the home and crawled from the burning home where the disturbance is thought to have started.
Witnesses told investigators they heard loud voices and arguing at the Williams residence prior to seeing smoke and flames coming out of the home.
The victims and suspects are thought to have known each other and the suspects had rented a home near Williams’ house at one time, the sheriff said.
Sholar died of multiple stab wounds to the body and was found lying face up near his own vehicle about 50 feet from the house. Investigators found a watch and glasses believed to belong to Sholar and pools of clotted blood and blood stained concrete where he apparently attempted to fight off his assailant(s).
Williams was found in grass with multiple stab wounds and burns and in semiconsciousness and was transported by medics to a location where he was airlifted to Memphis.
Williams helped identify suspects before he was transported, Dickerson said.
An intensive investigation for the two suspects, Anthony Green, 25, and Angie Jones, 24, was launched as soon as investigators began looking for a tan 1993 Mercury observed leaving the scene at a high rate of speed by one or more witnesses, Dickerson said.
Green and Jones were thought to have been travelling and living together and to have been with Williams and Sholar at the house during the afternoon, he said.
During an altercation inside Williams home, Angie Jones is alleged to have thrown gasoline on Williams in the upper torso area which was ignited by some means. During the process Williams was also allegedly stabbed one or more times by Green with some type of kitchen knife. Williams is believed to have inhaled some of the flames and the home was ignited with the fire from Williams’ clothing, Dickerson said.
The arguments, as best can be determined, played out in the small front living room.
Investigators believe Green turned his assault upon Sholar after the assault on Williams and demanded money, Dickerson said.
“The verbal and physical assault carried on to the yard where Sholar was found upon our arrival,” he said.
Sholar’s wallet was missing but later recovered with his driver’s license and bloody clothing in side a trash bag recovered by law enforcement officers at a waste dump. Dickerson said the trash was left in a garbage bin near a motel in east Memphis where the Green and Jones stayed Saturday night, Dickerson said.
As the investigation developed, Dickerson said tax collector Betty Byrd was called in the early morning hours Sunday to help conduct a computer search in her office. The getaway car was found to belong to suspect Angie Jones. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jimmy Warren Jr. volunteered in assisting the sheriff with technical services and any other ways he could with the investigation.
Memphis police searched for the vehicle and suspects after the vehicle was positively identified Saturday night. Later in the day Sunday, Memphis police searched for the suspects in motels after Marshall County authorities learned that the two suspects frequently spent the night in certain motels in Memphis.
“Our officers along with the Memphis police learned the suspects had left just minutes before they could close in on the motel around 11 a.m. Sunday morning,” Dickerson said.
Mid-afternoon Sunday, the Mercury was spotted by Memphis police in a parking lot near Getwell and Interstate 240 and officers deflated a tire and waited. The suspects were arrested by Memphis police without incident when they returned to the vehicle, Dickerson said.
The Mercury was also impounded by Memphis police. Dickerson and Warren took arrest warrants to Memphis Sunday afternoon and requested Tennessee hold the suspect.
The search for other crime scene material continued Monday in Memphis where officers waited for the sanitation collectors and were taken to the dump site where Sholar’s wallet containing his driver’s license and bloody clothing was found inside a garbage bag.
Investigators are continuing to search for the knife used in the stabbing could have been thrown out along the roadside as the suspects left the crime scene, Dickerson said.
The Mercury was searched Monday and other evidence, including a gas container, that could be linked to the crime scene was found in the automobile.
The suspects are expected to be returned to Marshall County authorities and to be arraigned on charges of capital murder in the death of Sholar and aggravated assault of Williams, Dickerson said.
Dickerson said the prosecution will ask that Green and Jones be denied bond due to the seriousness of the charges.
The possible arson aspect of the case is also under investigation, the sheriff said.
Dickerson corrected some misperceptions in television reports over the weekend.
“Our investigation never revealed that the incident was, in any form or fashion, drug-related,” he said.
Green and Jones voluntarily waived extradition Tuesday morning in Memphis criminal court and the suspects are expected to be transported back to Marshall County sheriff’s office, along with the Mercury, sometimeTuesday afternoon, the sheriff said.
Dickerson thanked the public and community, his officers for working long hours, the Memphis police, and Byrd and Warren for help that led to the development of suspects and their apprehension in the case. He also thanked personnel from Watson and Byhalia fire departments for their help.
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