Bond revoked on Itawamba County shooting suspect

By Adam Armour/The Itawamba County Times

A judge has revoked the bond of a Peppertown man accused of shooting at a car full of people, including two minors.

Last week, the $100,000 bond on John E. Harper of the Peppertown area was revoked by Circuit Court Judge Thomas Gardner III, following a request by the District Attorney’s Office. Harper is now being held in the Itawamba County Jail awaiting an appearance before the Itawamba County Grand Jury in March, 2012.

According to the motion filed in the Itawamba County Circuit Court to revoke Harper’s bond, the alleged action of the suspect “shows a knowing disregard for human life” and “could have very easily resulted in the loss of life.”

The motion also claims the “defendant’s actions [were] unprovoked and certain to occur again if the defendant is not held without bond.”

Harper has been charged in connection with the Oct. 16 shooting assault on the family of Jason Wood of Mantachie. According to officials, Harper followed the Wood’s vehicle, which was occupied by Wood, his wife and two children, down Highway 363 to the Bethel Baptist Church parking lot, where he opened fire on the vehicle with a 12-gauge shotgun at a distance of approximately 30 yards. He then allegedly fled the scene.

Soon after the incident, Harper’s vehicle was pulled over on Highway 178 and he was taken into custody by officers with the Itawamba County Special Operations Group.

No one was injured during the shooting. Harper’s initial bond was issued by Itawamba County Justice Court Judge Gerald Wallace. Harper was out of jail on this bond at the time of its revocation.

Harper now faces four counts of aggravated assault. If convicted, he faces between one and 20 years imprisonment for each charge of aggravated assault, as well as a fine of up to $100,000.

Adam Armour can be reached at 862-3141, by e-mailing adam.armour@journalinc.com or by visiting his blog at itawamba360.com.