Man, 29, is 5th person arrested in connection with fatal shootings of Mississippi officers

A fifth person has been arrested connection with the fatal shooting of two Mississippi police officers last weekend, state officials said.

Abram Wade ‘Pete’ Franklin was charged with obstruction of justice after he was questioned by Mississippi Bureau of Investigation agents, a statement from the state Department of Public Safety said.

MBI spokesman Warren Strain declined to say what Franklin did to merit the charge.

But investigators don’t believe Franklin was present for the shooting, Strain said.

Franklin, a 29-year-old Hattiesburg resident, was jailed Wednesday night awaiting an initial appearance before a judge to assign bond. Strain said that hearing could come as early as Thursday.

Four others have already been charged in the Saturday shootings of Hattiesburg officers Benjamin Deen and Liquori Tate and remain in jail. 

Marvin Banks, 29, is jailed without bond on two capital murder charges.

His 22-year-old girlfriend, Joanie Calloway, and 26-year-old brother, Curtis Banks, are charged as accessories after the fact.

Friend, 28-year-old Cornelius Clark, is charged with obstruction of justice.

Funerals will be held Thursday for Deen, 34, and Saturday for Tate, 25, both in Hattiesburg.

The Hattiesburg American reported that Deen left behind a wife and two children, and that Tate graduated from the police academy last year.

Strain said authorities searched again Wednesday for the .40-caliber pistol that police believe Banks used but did not find it.

Tuesday night, the MBI had said it wanted to question a man and a woman seen exiting a gold Cadillac Escalade at the motel where Marvin Banks was later arrested.

Investigators believe Curtis Banks drove his brother to the motel after the shooting.

Strain said that thanks to news reports, investigators were able to speak to both those people Wednesday. Strain said the pair were not at the scene of the shooting and have not been charged.

Strain told the Clarion-Ledger ‘There may be additional persons we would like to talk to who may or may not be part of the criminal activity. We just want to talk to them to see what they know.’

Investigators say that Deen pulled over a Hyundai driven by Calloway for speeding just after sunset Saturday. He decided to search the car, in which Clark and Marvin Banks were passengers, and called Tate for backup.

Strain said that after Deen asked all three to get out, Banks shot Deen in the face and Tate in the lower back. Both officers were wearing bullet-resistant vests that couldn’t protect them against the gunshots.

Patricia Burchell, Twelfth Circuit Court District Attorney, said in a statement issued to the Hattiesburg American ‘The only comment I will make at this time is that I and my office will do everything within our power to bring those charged in these senseless killings to justice.’

A judge, identified by the Hattiesburg American as Forrest County Justice Court Judge Gay Polk-Payton, denied bond to Marvin Banks.

Banks is charged with grand theft for fleeing a few blocks in a squad car after the shooting and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Banks pleaded guilty in 2010 to possessing a stolen handgun and faced unresolved drug charges at the time Deen pulled him over.

Curtis Banks’ bond is set at $100,000, but bond for a pending drug charge was revoked, meaning he can’t leave jail. Bond is set at $75,000 apiece for Calloway and Clark.

All four have been assigned public defenders. Strain said all four have given statements to police.

More at The DailyMail

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

scroll to top