Sheriff: Suspects in Mississippi slayings arrested in Kansas

AP News
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Posted: Dec 21, 2016 3:36 PM

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Two suspects in a Mississippi pawn shop robbery in which three were fatally shot were captured in Kansas early Wednesday after an interstate chase, authorities said.

Deputies tried to stop a red Dodge Charger with no displayed registration on Interstate 70, but the car sped away and later crashed off the interstate.

Jamison Townsend, 35, formerly of Blue Springs, Missouri, was arrested in the wrecked car, according to Sheriff Tony Wolf of Kansas' Geary County, west of Kansas City. Joshua Garcia, 37, of Biloxi, Mississippi, was found hours later hiding in a vehicle a mile from the crash site.

Both were being held in Junction City, Kansas, pending their being returned to Mississippi on arrest warrants charging each of them with three counts of capital murder and one count of armed robbery linked to last week's holdup of a Jackson pawn shop.

Police in that southwestern Mississippi city, roughly 850 miles from where Townsend and Garcia were arrested, have said three men — ages 60, 77 and 81 — were found shot to death Saturday night at Bill's Pawn Jewelry Coin/Stamp Exchange. Police did not specify what was stolen.

"We're anxious to get them back so we can prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law, which is what they deserve," Jackson, Mississippi, Police Chief Lee Vance told reporters Wednesday, describing Townsend and Garcia as "transients." ''It's a big relief to have these people in custody."

The vehicle was similar to one that surveillance photos showed was parked outside the Jackson pawn shop the day of the killings, and similar to a car that a Tennessee state trooper pulled over Monday. The duo sped away as the trooper approached, and authorities lost sight of the car after a short pursuit.

On Wednesday morning, Geary County deputies tried to stop a Dodge Charger with no displayed registration, but that car also raced away, crashed and became disabled, leading to the arrests of Townsend and Garcia.

It was not immediately clear whether Townsend and Garcia have attorneys. A message left Wednesday by The Associated Press at a Missouri telephone listing for Townsend was not returned. Garcia had no known phone listing.

Garcia has an extensive criminal record in Mississippi, where records show that he repeatedly has served prison time since 2000 for crimes involving burglary, armed robbery, theft and receiving stolen property, the Jackson Clarion-Ledger has reported. He was released on parole in 2014, the newspaper said.

Townsend filed for bankruptcy earlier this year in Mississippi, listing her hometown there as Olive Branch.