By Hank Wiesner/Southern Sentinel
RIPLEY — A Shannon man and a woman face capital murder charges in connection with the death of David Lee Floyd, aka Buck Wheat, of Shannon, whose body was found in south Tippah County earlier this month, authorities said.
The three were acquaintances, and the man is related to Floyd, authorities said.
Capital murder is defined as murder committed during the commission of another felony. In this case, the other felony was robbery, according to investigators.
Christopher L. Clippard, 34, and Maybelle O. White, 37, both of Shannon were arraigned Thursday afternoon before Tippah County Justice Court Judge Jerome Brown.
In a short hearing, Judge Brown ordered the two held without bond in the Tippah County Jail. Both said little, other than to indicate they understood the charges read to them by the judge. The man appeared stone-faced and showed no emotion; the woman was teary-eyed.
Both said they could not afford an attorney, so arrangements were started to obtain counsel for them.
The two – described as boyfriend and girlfriend — were arrested at the Mississippi Highway Patrol station in New Albany Thursday night after authorities developed enough information to arrest them, according to Tippah County Investigator Jason Willis.
Willis said investigation is still ongoing, and many questions remain unanswered for now.
Clippard, White and Floyd were acquaintances who lived close to one another in the Shannon area. Clippard and White were described as boyfriend and girlfriend, and the man was Floyd’s second cousin, according to Willis.
None of the three were employed, and all three had had scrapes with the law over the years, The trio was seen, and recorded on a surveillance camera, riding around in Lee County in a white 1995 Cadillac owned by Clippard’s mother shortly before Floyd was found dead.
“Preliminary autopsy results indicate that Mr. Floyd died from blunt force trauma to the head. Based on the evidence, we’re 99 percent sure Mr. Floyd was killed in Tippah County, and we’ll believe he was killed where he was found unless evidence proves otherwise,” Willis said Thursday afternoon. It hasn’t been determined what Floyd was hit with.
Clippard and White were caught on security cameras in Memphis after Floyd was killed, using a debit card believed stolen from him to make several minor purchases, Willis said.
It hasn’t been determined what led to Floyd’s death, or if anything more was taken from him than the debit card and some articles of clothing missing from the body.
Willis expressed his appreciation to three MBI agents who worked with him to help develop information that led to the arrests. He was unable to gain permission to use their names.
He also expressed his appreciation for the help he received from Lee County investigators Brad Minich and Bobby Bean. The investigation led officers across much of northeast Mississippi and into Tennessee, developing the information that led to the arrests.
Floyd’s body was found Saturday afternoon, Nov. 6, near Hell Creek Wildlife Management Area in Blue Mountain.
The 58-year-old man was identified through fingerprints on file from run-ins with the law over the years.
“He had some previous charges in another county 10 or 15 years ago. He’s also been in and out of the Lee County Jail on misdemeanor charges as recently as this year,” Willis has said previously.
Floyd’s body was transported to the State Medical Examiner’s Office in Pearl for autopsy.
Willis said the State Medical Examiner’s office notified the Tippah County Sheriff’s Department of the fingerprint match about 3:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 8.
Floyd is believed to have been disabled, and about 5’9″ to 6′ tall, 185-200 lbs. His body was found by hunters near the Union County line.
No identification was found on the body. Floyd had brown/silver hair, a tattoo with the letters BWF on his right bicep, and what is believed to be an open-heart surgery scar on his chest. No rings or other jewelry were found.
The investigation began after Tippah County dispatchers received a 911 call at 12:24 p.m. Saturday from a person who found the body lying off in a wooded area near CR 833 in southwest Tippah County.
Union and Tippah County Sheriff Departments responded to the scene until the body was determined to be in Tippah County.
Floyd’s body was later released to next of kin, and he was cremated.