Seven suspects indicted in connection with Brown murder

By Danza Johnson
Daily Journal
TUPELO – Trials could be at least a year away for suspects in the fatal shooting of 27-year-old Travis Brown.

A Lee County grand jury this week said it found enough evidence to indict seven people – three on capital murder charges – in the death of Brown, who was shot May 11 while answering the door at a friend’s house.

Police said he and several others were at a gathering at the Magnolia Street home when someone knocked on the door. When Brown opened it, someone fired several shots and hit in the abdomen.

Police speculate robbery the motive for the shooting, but they don’t think Brown was the planned target.

James Knowles, 19, of 509 County Road 1201, Plantersville, Christopher G. Hughes, 22, of Nettleton and Jason Bernard Matthew, 23, of Okolona, were indicted on capital murder charges.
Capital murder is charged when the murder is committed with another felony – in this case it was armed robbery. If convicted, all three suspects could face the death penalty.

Others indicted in the case were Jennifer Blair, 21, of Aberdeen; Natasha R. Osborne, 24, of 3063 Willie Moore No. 12, and Shakesha Cummings, 22, of Tupelo, all on charges of conspiracy to commit armed robbery, and Willie Johnson, 20, of 1411 Ida St., Tupelo, on possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Tupelo detective Capt. Bart Aguirre said it could be at least 12 months before trials begin in the case.

“We are still trying cases from last year,” he noted, “so it could be a year or maybe even two before these seven go to trial.”

Because of the seriousness of their charges, Knowles, Hughes and Matthew will remain in jail until their trial. The others will have bonds set during hearings this week.

At the arraignment, a criminal defendant is read the charges in the indictment and asked to plead guilty or not guilty. The court also will determine if the defendants can afford attorneys and will be appointed one if they can’t.

Contact Daily Journal law enforcement reporter Danza Johnson at 678-1583 or danza.johnson@djournal.com.