Man charged in deadly 1990 attack says he’s innocent

Published 6:38 am Friday, February 1, 2019

The man charged in a decades-old attack on two older women in Mississippi has pleaded not guilty in court.

The Commercial Dispatch reports Michael Wayne Devaughn pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges of capital murder and sexual battery. He was indicted this week in the 1990 slaying of 65-year-old Betty Jones and rape of 81-year-old Kathryn Crigler, who died from her injuries.

Oktibbeha County grand jurors on Monday indicted Devaughn on one count of capital murder in the stabbing death of Jones and one count of sexual battery in the rape of Crigler.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Jones and Crigler were attacked at Crigler’s Starkville home on Sept. 3, 1990.

Reports at the time said Jones’ throat was slashed by the assailant as soon as she answered the door. The assailant entered the house and raped the Crigler in a back bedroom.

Crigler, who had previously had a leg amputated, survived the assault and managed to drag herself down the hall to call police, who collected rape evidence before Crigler later died a few months later in a nursing home.

The DNA was tested years later, helping police identify Devaughn as a suspect.
District Attorney Scott Colom says Devaughn, jailed since August, will be arraigned Wednesday.

A lawyer for Devaughn didn’t immediately return an email seeking comment Tuesday.

Betty Jones’ grandsons, Jason and Simon Jones, were children when she was killed. In October, the Associated Press reported they had recently recorded a podcast about her slaying.

“I think, over the years, we’ve lost hope many, many, many times, over and over again,” Jason Jones told the Commercial Dispatch newspaper in October. “That hope would be reignited every Labor Day — there’d be this broad coverage that was like ‘Hey, remember that case?’ I feel like it was always a reminder that there was still no resolution.”