Accused Mississippi mass shooter charged with capital murder
Authorities have announced an additional charge against the gunman who they say killed six people in a tiny rural community in northern Mississippi on Friday
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Authorities have announced an additional charge against the man who they say went on a deadly shooting rampage last week, killing six people that included his ex-wife and stepfather in a tiny rural community in northern Mississippi.
Richard Dale Crum, 52, was jailed Friday hours after carrying out the shootings at multiple locations in Tate County, near the Tennessee state line. In a statement Monday night, Tate County Sheriff Brad Lance said that Richard Crum had been charged with one count of capital murder for the death of his ex-wife, Debra McNally Crum.
Richard Crum had already been charged with one count of first-degree murder for the death of Chris Eugene Boyce, 59, a Florida resident who was shot and killed while sitting in a pickup truck outside a convenience store in Arkabutla.
Besides Boyce and Crum’s ex-wife, authorities identified the others killed as Charles Manuel, 76; John Rorie, 59; George McCain, 73; and Lynda McCain, 78. As of Tuesday, Crum had not yet been charged in the shooting deaths of Manuel, Rorie and the McCains. George McCain was Crum's stepfather and Lynda was McCain's sister.
Norma Washington, Boyce's aunt, told The Associated Press that Boyce and his brother had been in town cleaning up a property they inherited from their deceased uncle. It was unclear whether Richard Crum knew either of the brothers.
The fatal shooting of 60-year-old Debra Crum in the home she shared with boyfriend George Drane in Coldwater came a little more than four years after Richard and Debra Crum's divorce. Drane said the two had been separated for five or six years before they divorced. Drane said he hadn't seen Richard Crum in seven or eight years.
“I thought it was a random act. I don’t know about the rest of it,” Drane said. “He left us alone. We left him alone.”
Drane said Richard Crum busted into their home and smashed him in the head with the butt of a gun before shooting Debra Crum in the head.
Richard Crum went to the home after he killed Boyce at the convenience store in nearby Arkabutla where, according to the sheriff, he had shot Boyce.
Ashley McKinney, a 38-year-old from Memphis, Tennessee, dated Debra Crum’s son, Sid Furniss, when the two were teens and said Richard Crum had displayed signs he was troubled.
After the divorce, Debra Crum grew uncomfortable working her overnight shifts at the Waffle House restaurant alone, unsure what her ex-husband would do because of his troubling behavior, and asked McKinney, who worked there, to keep her company, said McKinney said.
McKinney said Richard Crum largely worked odd jobs, like cutting firewood.
Richard Crum’s initial appearance was held at the Tate County Jail Monday due to “security concerns” connected with the case, Lance said. The judge ordered Richard Crum to be held without bond and set his preliminary hearing for Thursday morning at the Tate County Justice Court.
It was not immediately known if Richard Crum had an attorney who could speak on his behalf.
Michael Goldberg is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/mikergoldberg.