The Latest: Authorities looking at retaliation as a motive

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Posted: Aug 03, 2015 8:20 PM
The Latest: Authorities looking at retaliation as a motive

CANTON, Miss. (AP) — The latest on a fatal shooting outside a Mississippi courthouse (all times local):

7:15 p.m.

Madison County District Attorney Michael Guest says authorities are investigating whether William Wells shot Kendrick Brown Monday out of retaliation.

Guest says Sherry Wells, William Wells' mother, was an informant who was expected to testify against Kendrick Brown on drug charges that could have sent Brown to prison for a sentence of up to life without possibility of parole under Mississippi's three-strikes habitual offender law.

Guest earlier described Sherry Wells as an informant and says authorities "most definitely" are looking at retaliation as a motive for the shooting.

Authorities say Wells arrived in a pickup truck Monday morning, got out and shot Brown in the chest while Brown was just outside the Madison County Courthouse. Brown, who authorities say was scheduled to make a court appearance Monday, died at the courthouse.

Canton Police Chief Otha Brown says someone shot Sherry Wells while she was in her car Saturday night. Brown says Wells drove herself to the police station and was later taken to a hospital with a knee injury. Sherry Wells has been released from the hospital, and it's not clear where she is now.

Madison County Sheriff's Office spokesman Heath Hall says Wells' bond hearing in Madison County Justice Court is now set for 1 p.m. Tuesday.

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6:30 p.m.

Kendrick Brown, who died in Monday's shooting at the Madison County Courthouse, had multiple drug convictions. But authorities stopped actively supervising him after he was shot three times in August 2010. Mississippi Department of Corrections records show that Brown was temporarily paralyzed and that after he was released from intensive care, he was unable to care for himself or work. Brown served less than a year in the Regimented Inmate Discipline Program in 1998 on marijuana convictions. Records show he violated that parole in 2000 for again possessing marijuana, but was released from jail several months later. The 2000 marijuana charge was later dismissed.

Brown went back to prison in 2003 after pleading guilty to cocaine charges, and was released in December 2008, beginning the supervised probation that later was downgraded to unsupervised probation.

Authorities say 24-year-old William B. Wells shot Brown, 37, outside the Madison County courthouse.

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5:00 p.m.

The man charged in the fatal shooting of a defendant outside a Mississippi courthouse has had some minor traffic infractions but has never been arrested.

According to court documents, 24-year-old William B. Wells received a speeding ticket in 2009 and two tickets in 2013 and 2014 for improper license plates.

Authorities say Wells shot 37-year-old Kendrick Armond Brown outside the Madison County courthouse. Brown was awaiting an appearance in a drug case.

A bail hearing is set for Wells for Tuesday morning.

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2:20 p.m.

The girlfriend of the man charged in the fatal shooting of a defendant outside a Mississippi courthouse describes the suspect as a "good guy."

Lebertha Luckett was among a group of relatives and friends gathered Monday outside 24-year-old William B. Wells' home, which shares a backyard fence with the house of his mother and father.

Just hours after police say Wells shot the man, Luckett said: "He's a good guy. I don't know what happened."

Authorities say Wells shot 37-year-old Kendrick Armond Brown outside the Madison County courthouse. Brown was awaiting an appearance in a drug case.

A bail hearing is set for Wells for Tuesday morning.

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1:30 p.m.

Police say the mother of the suspect in a fatal courthouse shooting was shot in her car just two days earlier.

Canton, Mississippi, police Chief Otha Brown says the mother of 24-year-old William B. Wells was shot and wounded Saturday. Brown says she drove herself to the Police Department, reported she'd been shot, and was transferred to a hospital in an ambulance.

Brown refused to give her name, citing the ongoing investigation.

Earlier, Madison County District Attorney Michael Guest said the Saturday shooting involved a relative of the suspect. Guest described the relative as a female "informant."

Wells is in custody over Monday's fatal shooting of 37-year-old Kendrick Armond Brown at the Madison County Courthouse. The police chief says Wells is a former Canton city firefighter who previously "hadn't been in any trouble."

A bail hearing is set for Tuesday.

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1:10 p.m.

Authorities have identified the suspect in a fatal shooting outside a Mississippi courthouse.

Madison County Sheriff's Office spokesman Heath Hall says the suspect arrested in the Monday shooting is 24-year-old William B. Wells.

No other details have been released about Wells.

Officials say he shot 37-year-old Kendrick Armond Brown as he waited outside the Madison County courthouse to appear on drug charges. Authorities say Wells was arrested without a struggle after the fatal shooting. He is being held at the county jail. No bond or initial appearances have been set.

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12:30 p.m.

An indictment says the victim in a Mississippi courthouse shooting had been charged with the sale of cocaine and conspiracy to sell the drug, and he had a history as a habitual offender.

The Feb. 10 indictment says 37-year-old Kendrick Armond Brown was accused of selling less than 2 grams of cocaine in March 2014. Madison County District Attorney Michael Guest says the county sheriff's office made the arrest.

Brown was indicted as a habitual offender, with papers showing he had been convicted on two separate charges of selling cocaine in 2002 and sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2003.

Brown also was convicted in 1997 on charges of selling less than 1 ounce of marijuana and possession of marijuana with intent to sell. Court papers show he was sentenced to three years in state prison on those charges.

Officials say Brown was fatally shot while waiting outside a courthouse to appear on the latest drug charges on Monday morning. Authorities say a suspect is in custody but haven't identified him.

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Noon

An official says a relative of the suspect in a fatal shooting outside a Mississippi courthouse was wounded in an earlier shooting.

Madison County District Attorney Michael Guest says officials don't yet know whether the two shootings are linked. Law enforcement officials haven't identified the suspect in the Monday morning courthouse shooting. But Guest did confirm that an informant who was related to the suspect was wounded in a shooting Saturday.

Guest says that shooting also was in Canton, and the female victim underwent surgery. The Canton police chief couldn't immediately be reached for comment. No other details about that shooting were released.

Authorities have said Kendrick Armond Brown was killed in the courthouse shooting. They say he was waiting outside the courthouse with his lawyer and was expected to appear on drug charges. Officials say that a motive isn't yet known and that the victim wasn't a witness or suspect in other current criminal cases.

Officials say the suspect was arrested without a struggle.

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11:25 a.m.

An official has identified the victim in a fatal shooting outside a Mississippi courthouse.

According to an indictment forwarded to The Associated Press by Madison County District Attorney Michael Guest, the victim in the Monday morning shooting was Kendrick Armond Brown.

Guest has said the victim was waiting outside the courthouse with his lawyer and was expected to appear in court on drug charges. Guest says prosecutors expected that the victim would reject a plea offer and the judge would then set the case for trial.

A suspect has been arrested and is in custody in the county jail. Both Guest and Madison County Sheriff Randy Tucker have said they don't know why the suspect would have shot the other man. Guest says the victim was not a witness or a suspect in other current criminal cases.

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10:35 a.m.

A law enforcement official says a man fatally shot a defendant waiting outside a Mississippi courthouse Monday morning.

Madison County sheriff Randy Tucker says a suspect has been arrested and is in custody in the Madison County jail.

Tucker declined to identify the man arrested or the man shot.

The shooting happened in a small courtyard outside Madison County's criminal courthouse in Canton.

Tucker says the suspect fired one shot with a semi-automatic handgun, and the defendant was shot once in the chest and died at the scene.

Tucker and Madison County District Attorney Michael Guest say they do not know what the motive for the shooting was.

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10:30 a.m.

There is a heavy police presence at a county courthouse in Mississippi where there have been several unconfirmed reports of a fatal shooting.

Officers at the scene refused to comment on the situation Monday. Fifteen police vehicles are on the scene at the red-brick criminal courthouse for Madison County in Canton. Some officers are using metal detectors outside, sifting through pine needles. The courthouse is a couple of blocks north of Canton's main square and historical district.

Canton is a city of 13,000 about 25 miles north of Jackson.