Two Mornings…Two Men…Two Mississippi Murders


Join me for this walk.

Two mornings…two men…two murders.

Did hate motivate?

Highway 310 Blog seeks to find the answer to that question.

I had plans for 2013.  Adding a second blog wasn’t one of them.

I’ve heard other writers talk of how a story haunted them, but I’d never experienced that feeling as strongly as I did when the story of Johnny Lee Butts came across my desk.  For days, it was the last thing on my mind when I went to sleep and the first thing on my mind when I woke up.  Actually, it still is.

Although I enjoy the snarky and humorous style I employ here at Crumbsnatcher Tales, I didn’t feel it was the appropriate venue for the project I had in mind.

So that’s how the blog Highway 310-A Mississippi Murder was conceived.


This blog will have three main focuses:

  • Highlight and discuss the 2011 James Anderson case (Jackson, MS) and the 2012 Johnny Lee Butts case (Panola County, Mississippi)
  • Chronicle the first degree murder trial of Matthew Whitten Darby who will enter his plea on Feb 6th before the Honorable Judge McClure.  The trial is slated to begin on Feb 19th.
  • Highlight and discuss facts of other Panola County, Mississippi cases to determine if today’s law enforcement officials use their position as indiscriminately as officials past.

For Example:

2012– Judge Robert Chamberlain ruled that there was no probable cause to issue an arrest warrant for Batesville police officer Jamie Tedford, accused of threatening a 17-year-old black teenager over text messages sent to Tedford’s stepdaughter, 14.

(Source:  Davis, Billy. “Judge’s Ruling Clears Tedford of Threat Charge.” The Panolian March 12, 2010.)

1963– “Insufficient evidence…the reason for the acquittal of Panola County Sheriff Ross Darby…on charges of depriving a Negro of his right to a trial before inflicting summary punishment. U.S. District Court Judge Claude Clayton ordered the verdict on grounds the evidence was insufficient to prove willful intent in the striking of Lloyd Reed at a rural grocery store west of Pope last July 30.”

(Source: Associated Press. “School Integration Plan is Ordered.”  The Tuscaloosa News March 6, 1963.)

I’m not sure what tapestry this thread of blogs will weave, but until that pattern is fully laid out, I hope you will partner with me on this project.  What is required of you as a partner?

Simply one thing…subscribe and follow along with me as the stories of these two men unfold.  Oh, and feel free to dialogue there too!

In exchange, I will:

  • Bring to Highway 310 as much information as I can find about these two cases
  • Provide daily blog postings during Matthew Whitten Darby’s trial slated to begin February 19th. (Follow me on Twitter for tweets throughout the trial)
  • Respectfully seek to obtain interviews (when appropriate) and post those at Highway 310.

I’m calling upon my followers here, to follow along with me there, or pass this information along to someone else they feel may be interested.  I would welcome any mention that other bloggers might be willing to provide in support of this project.

****We now return to regularly scheduled programming.****



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