Bond $2M for double-murder suspect in Tupelo

By Danza Johnson/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Maurice D. Harris’ bond was set at $2 million Tuesday on two capital murder charges.
Harris, of Tupelo, is accused of shooting to death Jerry White, 35, and O’Neal Collier, 39, both of Tupelo, in a parked car Sunday night on Linden Hill Street.
Police said they believe the deaths were motivated by robbery. Capital murder is a charge based on murder during the commission of another crime.
Lee County Coroner Carolyn Gillentine-Green said autopsy reports confirmed that Collier was shot twice in the head and White once.
Harris was arrested at his 1011 Hilda Drive home about 5:30 a.m. Monday, eight hours after the initial call was made to police. Detective Brandon Garrett said the arrest was the result of tips from the community.
“Officers responded to the scene quickly and processed it,” said Garrett. “We talked to witnesses at the scene and got a lot of useful tips that led to this arrest.”
A gun was recovered during a search.
Tupelo Police Chief Tony Carleton said police believe Harris acted alone and that no further arrests are anticipated.
When police and Harris arrived at Lee County Justice Court for the bond hearing, Harris took several minutes to get out of the vehicle. As officers helped him from the car, Harris covered his face as news photographers tried to get a clear view of him.
Police discovered the two bodies in a vehicle on Linden Hill Street about 9:30 p.m. Sunday after receiving a citizen’s call. Linden Hill is a short dead-end street off North Green Street.
Tuesday afternoon, Linden Hill Street hardly looked like the place for Tupelo’s first homicides since 2007. People appeared to be going about their daily lives like nothing had happened. Only four houses are on the street, along with the Northside Boys and Girls Club.
One man, who asked not to be identified, said even talk of the deaths was hard to come across in the area.
“The first night it happened, it was hard for people to sleep because we didn’t know if there was a killer running around or not,” said the man. “But after police arrested someone, it just kind of went back to business as usual.
“People aren’t even really talking about the murders much now. It’s sad that it happened, but people are just moving on from it.”
Boys and Girls Director Evie Boyd said it’s business as usual at the club.
“The kids are there and everything is running smoothly,” she said. “Safety of the children is our first priority, and we are doing everything we can, as always, to assure the safety of the children.”
Contact Danza Johnson at (662) 678-1583 or danza.johnson@djournal.com.