Authorities investigating whether Monday murder was committed by inmate who escaped Mississippi prison

Published 1:14 pm Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Mississippi authorities say one of the four men who escaped the Raymond Detention Center on Sunday may be responsible for a Jackson carjacking and murder.

Officials from the Hinds County Coroner’s Office report that Anthony Watts, 61, of Simpson County, was shot and killed Monday night. Watts was reportedly shot at approximately 7 p.m. on the Interstate-55 south frontage road near Old Byram Road.

Watts reportedly stopped to help a man who appeared to have wrecked a motorcycle. Officials report that the motorcycle had been stolen. Authorities investigating the incident say the suspect in the murder fits the description of one of the inmates who escaped the Rankin Detention Center.

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Hinds County Sheriff Tyree Jones said his office is aware of the incident, but said there has been no confirmation that one of the escaped inmates was responsible. Jones said they are assisting with the investigation into the Monday night murder and carjacking.

“The HCSO is aware of a murder and carjacking that occurred on yesterday evening where a 2011 maroon Dodge Ram 1500 with a tan stripe, MS license plate SP14067 was taken in south Jackson,” Jones posted. “The Jackson Police Department is currently working the investigation and there has not been any information publicly released by the agency to confirm any details surrounding the event.”

“However, we are and have been in communication in efforts to attempt to gather more details to assist with the investigation and we’ve been in contact with our federal partners whom are very actively and aggressively searching for the escapees. At this time, according to the information we’ve been given, a suspect has not been identified and no description of the suspect has been publicly released. There is speculation that one of the escapees could be possibly responsible for this incident being investigated by JPD, but that can’t be confirmed due to the lack of information being provided at this time,” Jones wrote.

“The HCSO is still asking the public to call with any information regarding the whereabouts of any of the escapees and at this point we are asking the public to be on the lookout for the stolen truck being investigated by JPD. The occupant(s) should be considered armed and dangerous.”