September 19, 2020

‘If he did it, he needs to be in jail,’ mother of suspect in trooper slaying says

One of the men charged with murder in the Friday killing of a Mississippi state trooper was convicted for grand larceny in Adams County and was wanted on another murder charge.

Sgt. Benjamine Bentz of the Gulfport Police Department said Damion Whittley, 25, who was one of three suspects arrested in the Friday murder of Lt. Troy Morris, has a warrant for murder in connection with the death of Delfred Lewis Jr. who was shot and killed in Gulfport on May 8, 2019.

Whittley’s mother Deedra Madison of Natchez said her son shouldn’t have been out of the Mississippi Department of Corrections’ custody when either of the murders occurred.

Whittley was arrested by the Adams County Sheriff’s Office in June 2017 for grand larceny in connection with four stolen ATVs and a dirt bike and was later convicted.

Madison said her son should’ve still been under house arrest for that conviction.

“No one ever came to see if he was here,” she said. “… I don’t condone anything he does. If he did it, he needs to be in jail.”

Madison said she’d contacted probation officers on multiple occasions to ask them for help when Whittley was placed under house arrest in 2018 and questioned why no one ever came to her home.

“I went to the office and I asked them for help because I thought he was getting out of hand,” Madison said. “He started going and coming whenever he wanted to and I know he had a curfew to be home but he wasn’t coming home by curfew. Some nights he wasn’t coming home at all.”

Madison said Whittley had lived with her until November 2018 and left home after Thanksgiving with a bag of clothes. Madison said Whittley’s probation officer Melvin Davis told her Whittley had changed his address.

She found out a few weeks later Whittley let his ankle monitor battery run out.

“I called Melvin Davis and asked him did (Whittley) have permission to stay away,” Madison said. “He told me, ‘Damion doesn’t live with you anymore so it’s none of your concern.’ … A few weeks later I was cleaning up and found his ankle bracelet under the bed.”

Davis declined to comment on Whittley’s house arrest.

“My only comment is my thoughts and prayers go out to trooper Morris and his family, friends and the Mississippi Highway Patrol,” Davis said.

Madison’s last time speaking to Whittley was Thursday over the phone and it had been months since she had seen him face to face, she said.

“I told him he needed to change his life around and do better,” Madison said.

After hearing about Morris being shot and killed Friday on U.S. 61, Madison said she attempted to call her son and didn’t receive a response.

“I was just telling him to be careful because I heard a state trooper was killed. … His phone kept ringing and going to voicemail and so I texted him. I didn’t know he had already been arrested,” Madison said.

The Mississippi Bureau of Investigations said Whittley and Cdarrius Norman, 17, were arrested in New Orleans Saturday and are waiting to be transported back to Mississippi. Treyon Washington, 24, was arrested Friday in Jefferson County in connection with Morris’ murder.

MDOC did not respond to calls requesting comment as of Monday afternoon.