No new leads in death of Hazlehurst man

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Copiah and Lincoln County law enforcement officials say theyhave no new leads one day after a man was found shot dead in hisfront yard and his stolen car was recovered in Lake Lincoln.

Copiah County Sheriff Harold Jones said James Smith, 53, wasfound dead in the front yard of his home at 2072 Perrett Roadaround 4:10 a.m. Friday. Jones said Smith’s wife, Yvette, arrivedjust as his assailant was shooting him.

“She drives up in the front yard of her house, and there’s a manthere that she says is shooting her husband, and he’s on theground,” Jones said.

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Jones said the alleged shooter fired a shot at Yvette Smith thatlodged in the dashboard of her vehicle before attempting to jump onthe hood of her car. The assailant grabbed a windshield wiper totry to gain his balance, but pulled it off as he fell from the caras she drove away.

When Yvette Smith called 911 from her mobile phone, Jones said,they directed her to go to the Hazlehurst Police Department onWhitworth Street.

“Our deputies went back out there, and their other car wasgone,” Jones said. “That’s the car that was in Lake Lincoln. Rightnow we have no clue as to who did all this.”

Jones did say that authorities are searching for a white male ofmedium build between 20 and 30 years of age in connection with theshooting.

The vehicle was found in Lake Lincoln around 6:30 a.m. Fridaymorning. Lincoln County Sheriff Steve Rushing said a park officialwho noticed it mostly submerged in the waters just before thebridge on Sunset Road notified the sheriff’s department. Emergencyworkers and others helped remove the car from the lake.

Rushing confirmed that the 2002 gold Saturn four-door sedan hadthe same tag number as the one reported stolen by the Copiah CountySheriff’s office and it was sent back to Copiah County forinvestigation.

Copiah officials say once the car has dried out, they will beable to test it for fingerprints and other evidence.

Visitation for Smith, a native of Clarksdale, but a Hazlehurstresident for over 20 years, will be held from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.Monday at Stringer Family Funeral Home in Hazlehurst. Services willbe 2 p.m. Monday at the funeral home with burial in BethesdaCemetery.

He is survived by his wife Yvette Smith; son, Nathan Smith ofCarthage, N.Y.; daughters, Maricina Bardwell and Ashley Rando, bothof Brookhaven; sister, Martha Chambers, of Rogersville, Tenn.; andsix grandchildren.