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Suspected killer in Lawrence County homicide eludes capture

With two murder investigations underway, Lawrence County Sheriff Lessie Butler hopes to have both suspects in the separate, unrelated cases behind bars soon on murder charges.

Tony Wilson, a suspect in the grisly murder of retired educator Henry Peavey and assault on Peavey’s wife, Kathryn, remains at large.

He is considered armed and dangerous and is likely still hiding in the woods near his property, Butler said.

“That’s what I kind of feel like but I don’t have anything to prove it,” he said.

In a second homicide, which occurred early Wednesday, Cheryl Trosclair, 54, a live-in caretaker for an elderly patient, was murdered after answering the door to the home on Billy Davis Road in Silver Creek, he said.

A suspect found at the scene by deputies has been arrested and Butler said he expects the man will be charged with murder. He has not released the man’s name.

Butler said the search for Wilson is continuing even as investigators work to piece together the timeline of events.

The Peaveys were attacked Tuesday morning, possibly in separate locations. The Peaveys’ home was ablaze when firefighters arrived some time after 11:30 a.m. Kathryn Peavey had been assaulted and was suffering head trauma and some burns, Butler said. She’d managed to get out of the burning home before it was destroyed.

The home was fully engulfed when firefighters arrived. They were then alerted to a second fire down the street at the home of Henry Peavey’s mother. They were able to put out the fire there before the house was destroyed. The body of Henry Peavey was found inside the house, Butler said.

The 78-year-old had been shot with a shotgun and burned, he said.

An autopsy is being completed at the state crime lab and a cause of death has not yet been determined, said Warren Strain, communication director with the Mississippi Department of Public Safety.

Butler said Peavey was apparently killed at his mother’s wooden, yellow house nearby, just around a bend on Frog Ridge Road.

“It was caught on fire, but was able to be put out,” he said.

The Peaveys’ home was a total loss, he said, with just partial walls remaining.

“She was seriously injured before she came out of the house,” he said.

Butler suspects the alleged killer intended for Kathryn Peavey to die in the blaze.

State fire marshals investigated both locations Wednesday.

Butler said law enforcement officers have not determined which attack took place first.

Wilson, a 56-year-old welder, and the Peaveys had been involved in a nasty land squabble for years, neighbors said.

Their properties on Frog Ridge Road are just southeast of East Lincoln about three miles inside Lawrence County between Jayess and Monticello. Peavey had been granted the land by a court ruling.

Wilson had recently bonded out of Lawrence County jail where he’d been held on charges of violating a restraining order that was meant to keep him off of the Peaveys’ land. Butler said when deputies attempted to serve the warrant for violating the order in October 2016, Wilson allegedly pulled a gun on them. He was charged with aggravated assault on a law officer, he said. Wilson’s court date for that charge is in January, Butler said.

Neighbor Ann Givens said someone cut a fence down on Peavey’s property last week not long after he’d put up a new one.

In his career, Peavey taught at Topeka Tilton Attendance Center and Brookhaven High School.

Homicide in Arm

Butler said Trosclair took care of an elderly man at his home in the Arm community in Silver Creek.

Trosclair had been shot multiple times and her injuries included a laceration, Lawrence County coroner Sandra Lambert said. She places the time of death some time between midnight and 5 a.m. Wednesday.

Butler said Trosclair’s patient was present at the time of the attack and gave a statement to law enforcement.

“Somebody knocked on the door. He heard the scuffle up front and when he went to the room, he saw the assault,” he said.

The man locked himself in a room and called 911.

The assailant was still at the home when deputies arrived and he was taken into custody, Butler said.

Anyone with information about either crime is asked to call the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office Metro Crime Stoppers tip line at 601-582-7867.

Tony Wilson