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Capital murder charges pending for suspect in police killings

Two counts of capital murder are pending for the only suspect in the murder of two Brookhaven police officers, a state agency spokesperson said Tuesday. 

Mississippi Department of Corrections Communications Director Grace Fisher said 25-year-old Marquis Aaron Flowers, of 426 Independence St. in Brookhaven, had his parole revoked Oct. 2 after the state parole board determined he had violated the conditions of his 2017 parole due to “pending charges of two counts of capital murder” and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. The department’s announcement marks the first time any agency has confirmed pending charges for Flowers, who was arrested Sept. 29 at the scene of the shooting deaths of BPD patrolman James White and Cpl. Zach Moak.

“Flowers remains hospitalized. Once he is released, he will return to prison to complete the sentence he received for multiple counts of vehicle burglary in Pike (eight counts) and Lincoln (two counts) counties, and one count of conspiracy in Lincoln County,” Fisher said. “With the crimes running concurrently, he received a total of six years to serve, followed by probation, when sentenced on Jan. 12, 2015, for the crimes committed in 2010.”

Capital murder charges carry the possibility of the death penalty in Mississippi.

The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation, which is handling the investigation of the officers’ murders, has yet to announce charges on Flowers or update his condition. He was shot and wounded before being taken into custody, and remains under guard at a Jackson hospital.

It is unclear who shot Flowers. White reported finding a shot-up vehicle with blood in the driver’s seat when he arrived at the scene on North Sixth Street before 5 a.m., and Brookhaven Police Chief Kenneth Collins said Moak exchanged fire with Flowers at the scene before he was killed.

Investigators have not said whether Flowers was already shot before police arrived, or who may have shot him. Police say Flowers remains the only suspect in the killings.

The deaths of Moak and White were followed by a week of mourning in Brookhaven. Both officers were laid to rest in large, separate events that drew law enforcement officers from across the nation and dignitaries from around Mississippi.

Flowers was out on parole at the time of the shootings after the state parole board released him a year ago.

Court records show he was released from the Adams County Jail on May 3 after posting a $50,000 bond set by judge Al Johnson on charges of taking away a motor vehicle and four counts of burglary of automobiles stemming from separate thefts in Natchez in February 2017. Deputies say Flowers initially escaped capture in a high-speed chase, but later surrendered himself at the Adams County Sheriff’s Office.

The court filed a bench warrant for Flowers’ rearrest on Aug. 6 after he failed to show up at a court appearance.

Court records also show Flowers had been indicted Jan. 8 in Adams County on the charges from February 2017. At the time of his arrest then, he was reportedly wearing an ankle monitor after being released on probation in January 2015 from his sentence for the 2010 burglaries.