Suspect still jailed in Copiah Co. facility

Published 8:00 pm Thursday, February 7, 2013

A man accused by Lincoln County law enforcement of shooting a deputy sheriff remains in custody on a $500,000 bond.

Mario Black, 28, of 820 Union St., was taken into custody nearly two weeks ago on the evening of Jan. 25 following a shooting incident involving Byron Catchings, an investigator with the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office.

Law enforcement officials have alleged Black fired a handgun from a residence on Union Street about 8 p.m. Jan. 25, striking an unmarked vehicle driven by Catchings.

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Those officials, however, have said they don’t know whether their suspect intended to hit Catchings’ vehicle or not.

Black is charged with aggravated assault on a police officer, possession of a firearm by a felon and shooting into an occupied vehicle.

At an arraignment last week in Lincoln County, Black’s $500,000 bond was set. He remains in custody at the Copiah County jail.

A Copiah County official confirmed Thursday morning Black hasn’t bonded out.

Black’s being held in Copiah County because the shooting he’s accused of involved a Lincoln County law enforcement officer. For the same reason, the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation is taking a lead role in the case.

However, the Lincoln County District Attorney will prosecute the case.

Black’s charges will next go before a grand jury where Lincoln County prosecutors will pursue an indictment.

That could be several months away, though.

“It will probably be April before his case can go,” said Lincoln County District Attorney Dee Bates. “A grand jury meets in February but it won’t be ready for that.”

Black has a prior felony conviction originating from Lincoln County. According to court records, Black pleaded guilty in 2004 to possession of less than 30 grams of marijuana with intent to distribute and was sentenced to serve three years.

Jail records at the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office indicate Black has been arrested multiple times by the agency, with booking records from 2003, 2004, 2007 and 2010.