By Patsy R. Brumfield/Daily Journal
OXFORD – Calhoun countian Wendell Blount, arrested after nearly six months on the lam, could be back in north Mississippi by Nov. 11.
Maybe sooner, said Chris Felix, supervisory inspector for the U.S. Marshals Service’s Gulf Coast Regional Fugitive Task Force.
Blount, 58, took off his electronic monitor May 14 at his home and then took off, three weeks after a federal jury in Greenville convicted him of driving his SUV into Dutch journalist Esther Hageman and killing her as she rode a bicycle south toward Jackson.
The April 22, 2009, accident occurred in Chickasaw County on the Natchez Trace Parkway, which is federal jurisdiction.
Compounding the vehicular manslaughter charges was Blount’s alleged impairment by morphine, which he said was for chronic pain.
He faces up to 33 years in prison.
“We’ve been working on this for a while,” Felix said Monday of Blount’s capture about 6 p.m. Thursday in Baton Rouge, La.
Felix said Blount, a former businessman and ex-con, “had a friend hiding him out, assisting him” there.
The Middle Louisiana Fugitive Task Force, he said, knew Blount was in Baton Rouge most of the time since he exited Calhoun County, but it took what Felix termed “a cooperating source” in the Louisiana capital to pinpoint him well enough to make his capture successful.
“We knew he was there,” Felix noted, “Just no one could put their fingers on him.”
Blount likely will return to the region before Nov. 11, Felix speculated, saying he could be back as early as Wednesday.
When his SUV struck Hageman, he was out on supervised released from a prison term in Texas on drug charges.
• For more details, read Tuesday’s Daily Journal or NEMS360.com