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Area law joins forces to catch rape suspect

MONTICELLO — A Monticello man was arrested Wednesday inHazlehurst on Lawrence County charges of armed robbery, burglary,sexual battery and two counts of rape.

Law enforcement officials from several counties had beensearching for Shawn Rodell Brown, 27, of Columbia Street, sinceearly Saturday morning.

Brown was denied bond at an initial hearing Thursday afternoon.A preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 19.

The suspect was out on bond for a Lawrence County rape chargeissued in September 1999 when the alleged new crimes occurredSaturday. Brown had been indicted by the grand jury on theSeptember charge and a trial was set for December.

Monticello Police Chief Willard Griffin said it was the quickaction of area law enforcement agencies that resulted in Brown’sarrest.

Monticello police were notified of the crimes at 5 a.m. Saturdaymorning and responded to a Columbia Street address. Officers DavidStanley and Charles White, who led the investigation, determinedthe charges during their investigation.

Griffin said Brown is charged with two counts of rape becausethe suspect was assaulted twice.

Brown is accused of breaking into the victim’s home around 3a.m. Saturday and holding her at knife point. The victim was ableto escape about two hours later when the suspect became distracted,Griffin said.

The victim identified Brown as her assailant, and Griffin said,she knew him because they lived on the same street.

Griffin said local law enforcement officials immediately began asearch for Brown and quickly extended the search into surroundingcounties because the suspect had relatives scattered throughout thearea.

Griffin credits the actions of two Copiah County deputies forthe arrest. Deputies Eddie Givens and John Gosa drove toMonticello, picked up pictures of Brown and circulated themthroughout Copiah County. Hazlehurst police officer Jim Hillarrested Brown on a city street while searching for him.

“I had a lot of good help on this,” Griffin said. “I want tothank all the law enforcement agencies who helped make thisarrest.”

Griffin said he also had a lot of help from the Lawrence CountySheriff’s Office, Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department, BrookhavenPolice Department, and made special mention of Gerald Wall, stateinvestigator for the Mississippi Highway Patrol, and Nell Jenkins,municipal court clerk.