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Few developments in Hazlehurst murder

Investigators are still looking for leads on the murder of a53-year-old Copiah County man whose car was found in Lake Lincolnjust hours after he was shot in his front yard on Dec. 28.

Copiah County Sheriff’s Department Investigator Chad Sillsconfirmed that lead Investigator Jerry Spell and others were inLincoln County Wednesday to gather evidence that was still in thepossession of the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department in the murderof James Smith, who lived just outside of Hazlehurst on PerrettRoad.

“I know they came to pick up some stuff that the officer tookfrom the car that day, the tag was in the car, and some otherthings,” he said.

He said there were no other developments in the case, though hehadn’t spoken with other investigators on the case thismorning.

“As far as I know we’re still waiting on some subpoenas and thecoroner’s report,” he said.

Authorities say Smith died from gunshot wounds to the head. Hiswife Yvette says she came home around 4:10 a.m. the morning of Dec.28 to find a man shooting her husband as he lay on the ground, andthat she only narrowly escaped him herself.

Smith’s 2002 gold Saturn four-door sedan was found in LakeLincoln around 6:30 a.m. the same day. Lincoln County Sheriff SteveRushing said a park official noticed the car mostly submerged inthe water and notified the sheriff’s department. Emergency workersand others helped remove the car from the lake.

Copiah County Sheriff Harold Jones said that day there was moneyat the scene of the murder that was not taken, which seeminglyrules out robbery. Sills said authorities are still trying to pindown a motive.