By Floyd Ingram/Chickasaw Journal
HOUSTON – A Chickasaw County man was arrested Monday in connection with the murder of William Ray “Shorty” Bevill almost two months ago.
Mitchell Gregory, 32, of CR 83 near Woodland, was arrested about 4 p.m. Monday in Houston. He was being held in the Chickasaw County Jail Tuesday pending arraignment on charges of murder.
“We got the DNA evidence back from the State Crime Lab and, along with the Houston Police Department, picked Mr. Gregory up,” said James Meyers, Chief Deputy with the Chickasaw County Sheriff’s Department. “The break in the case was the DNA evidence.”
Bevill, 75, was found dead in his 206 Aberdeen Road home of stab wounds on April 15. Police had been called to Bevill’s small, gray house by relatives and when they got inside they found Bevill and evidence that led authorities to believe he was murdered.
“The charges against Mr. Gregory will be capital murder charges that can carry the death penalty as a maximum sentence,” said Meyers.
Capital murder is the commission of murder while committing another felony such as burglary, rape or arson. Myers said evidence indicates Gregory was burglarizing Bevill’s home.
“This case is still under investigation, but at this point, we believe the victim surprised (Gregory) in his home,” said Meyers. “A struggle ensued and Mr. Bevill was stabbed multiple times.”
It appears Gregory was also injured in that fight.
“The DNA report has identified blood collected at the scene as belonging to Bevill and at least one other individual,” said Chickasaw County Coroner and Investigator Andy Harmon. “We ran that data though CODIS (Combined DNA Index System) looking for a match.”
Houston Police Chief Billy Voyles said police were called to Bevill’s home a couple of weeks prior to his death to investigate the theft of prescription medicine. Voyles added it is not known if the two incidents are connected.
Voyles said Bevill was last seen on the parking lot of Walmart in Houston about 8:40 p.m. Saturday, April 13.
Harmon has said the autopsy report put Bevill’s death as either late Saturday night or early Sunday morning April 13-14.
Authorities were called to Bevill’s house the following Monday after friends and family could not get him to come to the door. When Houston police made entry to the home they realized there had been a struggle and they were dealing with an apparent homicide.
A Mississippi Bureau of Investigation Crime Scene Unit and personnel were sent to process the scene and collected several bags of evidence.
Authorities have not speculated on a motive for Bevill’s murder.
Meyers said a weapon was recovered at the crime scene that may be the murder weapon. He said that evidence is still being processed by the state crime lab.
“Like we said earlier, this case is still under investigation,” said Meyers. “At this time we do not believe anyone else was directly involved in this murder, but we are continuing to interview people and we are looking at all the details of this case.”
Myers said rumors that Bevill was tied up or tortured are not true. Authorities had previously said while “coffee shop talk” had prompted deputies to chase a lot of dead ends, investigators have been pleased with the amount of information being provided by the community.
“We always appreciate the community’s involvement and want to thank everyone who called,” said Meyers. “We ran down a lot of dead-ends, but we would rather do that than people not call and we miss something.”
Voyles said the crime shocked Houston and he thanked the community for its patience.
“People think these things happen and we can just make an arrest fast,” said Voyles. “These things take time and we had to wait on the DNA evidence.
“I’ve known Shorty and Mr. Gregory and their family a long time and it’s just a bad thing,” said Voyles. “I’m just glad we have come to the point where we can make an arrest.”