Gulfport PD looking for a suspect in a brutal murder.

At last word, police in Gulfport were still working to locate a man suspected in a weekend homicide where the victim was killed with a machete. The attack occurred early Sunday night on 26th Street leaving 39-year-old Frederick Plummer dead in a wooded area. Investigators have named 44-year-old Eli Martinez Medina as a suspect in the homicide and are looking to locate Leila Lizana for questioning, though she has not been named a suspect. 

A woman who pleaded guilty to charges related to the shooting death of Donta Banks almost three years ago in Jackson County is off to prison. Judge Dale Harkey on Monday sentenced Rita Johnston to serve 35 years behind bars after her convictions as an accessory after the fact to capital murder and attempted burglary. The body of Banks was found dumped at the end of a dirt road and his SUV stolen. Johnston and co-defendant Hubert Anderson were arrested after a high-speed chase and crash, with Anderson convicted at trial of capital murder and sentenced to life without parole.

The folks who worked at the IHOP restaurant in Laurel are without a job today. Word that the eatery was closed and would remain that way permanently was outlined in a letter left taped on the doors of the business yesterday. It stated the employees had been terminated effective immediately and that they would learn through email addresses provided to the company about their last paycheck and benefits. The same kind of situation occured at a Pascagoula IHOP location, where employees arrived to work and were notified the location was closed.

A number of cities and counties in the state are included in a State of Emergency that Governor Bryant signed yesterday following the violent, flooding storms that occurred this past weekend. The action eliminates much of the red tape that those impacted might encounter in seeking financial assistance related to their damaged property. Flooding was a problem for many after heavy rains soaked Mississippi. An EF-3 tornado ripped up a 10-mile stretch in Columbus causing heavy damage and killing one person and injuring more than a dozen others.

The "Mighty Mississippi" will be flexing its muscles over the next few weeks. The level of the Mississippi River is rising and expected to crest in Vicksburg at 51-point-five-feet on March 14th, well above flood stage. The mayor and Board of Aldermen declared an emergency yesterday because of the situation and efforts are underway for the installation of the Levee Street floodgates. As a result of the declaration, the city, and the county, that approved a similar resolution yesterday, will be able to get reimbursed for equipment needed to battle the high water. 

There's been yet another hanging death involving a jail inmate on the Mississippi coast. This latest one occurred Friday night at the Harrison County jail where 41-year-old Charles Webb the Third died by apparently hanging himself. Webb was arrested five days earlier on drug charges. He was the third inmate to commit suicide over the past two months, the other two occurring at the Jackson County jail. As is protocol, the MBI is assisting in investigating the deaths.



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