Autopsy reveals MSU student was shot two times; details slowly emerging

March 28, 2012 8:33:44 AM

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STARKVILLE -- A Mississippi State University student slain Saturday night at a dorm had been shot twice, an autopsy shows. 

 

John Sanderson, 21, was shot in the chest and a second bullet traveled through his arm into the abdomen, Oktibbeha County Coroner Michael Hunt said. 

 

The small caliber handgun police think was used in the shooting was found early Sunday on the Starkville campus. It is being tested at the state Crime Lab. Three people have been arrested and charged with capital murder. 

 

MSU officials have said drugs may have been a motive in the killing but authorities have released few details. 

 

The possible motive in the killing "will come once the investigation is complete," said Bill Kibler, vice president of student affairs. 

 

"Police do have some clues but nothing that is releasable information. The next step is to get (the suspects) to Oktibbeha County and start piecing their stories together," Kibler said. 

 

MSU campus police chief Georgia Lindley said six people were present in the Evans Hall room when the shooting occurred -- the victim, three suspects and the room's two occupants. Lindley and other university officials would not identify the dorm's occupants or say whether charges would be filed against them. 

 

On Monday, Kibler said Sanderson lived in Rice Hall, not Evans Hall. When asked why Sanderson was in Evans Hall on the night of the incident, Kibler said he was "probably visiting." 

 

Richard Griffin, a supervisory inspector for the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force in Jackson, said the third suspect, Trent Deundra Crump, 21, of Flowood, turned himself in at the Alachua County Sheriff's Department in Florida on Tuesday. Griffin said Crump was to make his first appearance before a judge Wednesday and could be extradited back to Mississippi. 

 

Duntae Harvey, 21, of Jackson, surrendered at an apartment complex in Jackson on Monday. Mason Perry Jones, 21, of Jackson, was also arrested by the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force in Memphis, Tenn., on Sunday. 

 

Court documents show all of the suspects and the victim had arrest records. 

 

Harvey has been convicted of possession of drug paraphernalia and contempt of court, resulting in a six-month jail sentence and a $4,534 fine. He has a string of other misdemeanor charges, ranging from shoplifting to domestic violence. 

 

Last May, a judge ordered Crump to serve 60 days in jail and pay a $624 fine for threatening with a deadly weapon. A month before, he had been arrested on a charge of discharging a firearm. 

 

In 2010, Crump was charged with the felony of burglary of dwelling house, but the case was dismissed. His record also includes a host of misdemeanor charges, including simple assault with injuries, domestic violence, possession of less than an ounce of marijuana and failure to appear in court. 

 

When Jones was arrested over the weekend, authorities picked him up on a warrant involving a Valentine's Day armed robbery of a man sitting in a car outside a convenience store in south Jackson. 

 

In 2007, after being arrested on a charge of the sale of a small amount of marijuana, Sanderson told Madison police he and another man had carried out auto burglaries in affluent subdivisions, according to police reports obtained by The Clarion-Ledger through a public records request. Two years later, he complained of having his house burglarized and having his Playstation 3 and video games stolen. 

 

That same year, Madison police responded to a fight involving Sanderson, according to records. 

 

In 2010, Sanderson was charged with two counts of aggravated assault. According to police reports, Sanderson waved a man he knew over to his vehicle in the parking lot of Walmart in Madison. He extended his hand to shake hands and when the man shook hands, Sanderson reportedly pulled the man into the vehicle and shot him in the face with a BB pistol before shooting him twice in the back of the head as the man turned away. 

 

Sanderson then grabbed the man's coat, dragged him 30 feet and then tried to run the man over, according to the records. Sanderson later told police the man had tried to choke him. 

 

In an unrelated case, Sanderson was charged with embezzling from his employer. 

 

Sentenced to two years in prison, Sanderson completed the Regimented Inmate Discipline program in 2010, enabling him to have his felony conviction expunged.