One Lafayette shooter indicted, another cleared

By Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal

OXFORD – A woman who shot into a car to save her husband’s life will not be prosecuted, while a man who shot his wife faces a charge of murder.
A Lafayette County grand jury declined to indict Brenda Crommie, 70, of County Road 225, for the April 9 death of James Lee Jones, 47, of Hathorn Road in Oxford.
Crommie’s son had called her home early that morning and asked to borrow money to pay an urgent debt.
Crommie’s husband had agreed to provide the money if the couple’s son, Keith Richardson, would agree to remain at the house afterward.
According to Sheriff Department Investigator Jay Hill, Richardson took the money but returned to the car, where Jones was waiting. When they started to leave, Crommie’s 81-year-old husband tried to restrain his son and was being dragged by the car.
Brenda Crommie, fearing for her husband’s life, fired into the car. Jones was hit several times by .38-caliber bullets. Her son was also hit, but his injury was not life-threatening.
If a grand jury believes there is sufficient evidence to warrant a trial it may indict or recommend a lesser charge. In Crommie’s case, it declined to indict and made no further recommendation.
Hill said the day after the homicide, “It was a bad situation that got out of hand.”
The grand jury saw another April killing differently. It indicted James O. Harwell, 45, of County Road 105, on a charge of murder in the April 9 shooting death of his wife, Chris Ann Milam Harwell.
Witnesses reported the couple had fought continually on the day before the killing.
Chris Ann Harwell died of gunshot wounds on the front porch of her home. The couple’s 13-year-old daughter was present during the attack.
The simple murder charge, meaning the killing took place in the absence of other crimes, carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.
Contact Errol Castens at (662) 281-1069 or errol.castens@djournal.com.