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Trial date set for suspect in child’s murder

A Wesson man charged with second-degree murder made an appearance in Lincoln County Circuit Court Thursday and a trial date was set.

John Weathersby, 26, in a Copiah County Sheriff’s Office orange jumpsuit and shackles, was escorted before Judge David Strong Thursday morning as his attorney Brandon Dorsey discussed filing “standard, typical motions for a murder case” in the coming days. With no problems with discovery — save for a technical issue accessing state-provided files — Dorsey and Assistant District Attorney Brendan Adams were in agreement with Judge Strong for a preliminary trial date of Oct. 20.

Weathersby is accused of firing the fatal shots that claimed the life of 7-year-old Quantavious Allen Jr. on June 12, 2019.

The drive-by shooting that occurred around 6 p.m. was reported to Brookhaven Police, and investigators immediately began the search that resulted in the capture and arrest of Weathersby.

BPD Chief Kenneth Collins said Allen — known in the Brignall community as Yang Yang — was struck by a projectile as he was inside the home he shared with his father and sister at 2457 Grant Road.

Allen’s father “had just got off from work and he had his two kids with him and somebody shot into his house, multiple shots with an assault rifle,” Collins said at the time. “A 7-year-old child is innocent. Whatever the problems that the adults had, it should not have spilled over dealing with the home and the kids.”

Yang Yang’s grandmother, Ophelia Allen, said at a prayer vigil two days after the shooting that she didn’t want her grandson’s death to lead to hate or retaliation.

“They don’t know how much they took from me,” she said. “He was my heartbeat.”

She said Quantavious had told her the previous weekend, “Nana, Jesus told me I can come live with him.” When she told him that would be a while later in life, the boy replied, “But, Nana, he told me that three times.”

On Wednesday when the shooting happened, the soon-to-be second grader was playing video games in his living room, his dad watching TV and his 5-year-old sister Quanyia playing in other parts of the home, when Quantavious Sr. heard a “tsss, tsss, tsss” sound on the bricks outside. He called to the children to get down on the floor.

“Yang, evidently he was going to his daddy’s voice, you know,” Ophelia Allen said, “and when he was saying ‘Get down,’ he was walking to him, and I guess it got him then. (His sister) told me he came into the hallway and Daddy said, ‘Baby, you alright? You alright?’ and he said, ‘Daddy, I think I’m hit’ … She said those were the last words he said.”

Allen Jr. was pronounced dead shortly before 10 p.m. at University of Mississippi Medical Center, after being airlifted from King’s Daughters Medical Center.

Chief Collins asked for the public’s assistance in locating Weathersby as a suspect, considered armed and dangerous, because he had an ongoing argument with Allen Sr. Investigators began their search by going door-to-door in Brignall asking for information and assistance.

Weathersby was captured June 22 in Wesson by U.S. Marshals on Sylvarena Road about 6:30 p.m. Collins thanked the Marshal Service, Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office and his own BPD officers for their “non-stop, almost 24-hours-a-day” work to find the suspect.

Weathersby made his first appearance in court before Judge Brad Boerner June 25, 2019, in Lincoln County, where charges of murder were read against him. He allegedly sprayed Allen’s home with rounds from an AK-47, which struck and killed Allen Jr.

The suspect was ordered held without bond. At formal arraignment in July, Weathersby’s bond was set at $750,000 — reduced from $2 million — and he was formally charged with shooting into a dwelling/house, drive-by shooting and second-degree murder.

Weathersby will be back in court Oct. 8 for call of trial docket.