October 18, 2009 12:07:00 AM
WEST POINT-- It likely will be late 2010 before a West Point man stands trial for two murders and assault, according to Clay County Sheriff''s Department Chief Deputy Eddie Scott.
Robert Rupert, of West Point, pleaded not guilty before Judge Lee Howard to capital murder, murder and aggravated assault Friday in Clay County Circuit Court. He''ll undergo a psychiatric evaluation before a trial date is set.
Rupert, 39, is charged with the killings of Roosevelt Pernell III in December 2003 and Carlos Carr in 1994.
The capital murder and aggravated assault charges stem from the murder-for-hire shooting death of Pernell and the shooting of Pernell''s brother, Cedric, while they were working in concert with the CCSD.
According to police reports, Rupert and possibly other gunmen used sniper-style firearms to shoot and kill Roosevelt Pernell and wound Cedric Pernell. Authorities believe the killing was drug-related.
CCSD investigators in June charged Rupert on one count of capital murder in connection with the shooting death of Pernell, a Starkville resident.
Carr went missing July 24, 1994, and his body was discovered weeks later on Old Payne Field Road in Monroe County.
The Clay County Sheriff''s Office''s Cold Case Unit, along with help from the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation and the FBI, discovered evidence linking Rupert to the Carr death, as well.
Because the suspect currently is serving a 30-year sentence in the Mississippi Department of Corrections for a previous sale of cocaine charge, he is not eligible to be released on bond. He is being held in an undisclosed MDOC location.
Roosevelt Pernell III''s murder case is not the only unsolved death in the Pernell family. Roosevelt Pernell III''s father, Roosevelt Pernell Jr., died Feb. 22, 2007 while he was being held in the Lowndes County Adult Detention Center on public drunkenness charges.
LCADC officers discovered Roosevelt Pernell Jr. unresponsive in his jail cell a few hours after he was arrested by the Columbus Police Department on the charges.
Although an autopsy revealed Roosevelt Pernell Jr. died of blunt force trauma to the head, it is unclear whether he received the injuries before or after his arrest.