Raymond Pannell

Raymond Pannell

Law enforcement authorities have charged an Alpine man with murder in connection to the shooting death of a woman found last Friday morning.

Union County Sheriff Jimmy Edwards announced said that Raymond Pannell, 55, of 1689 County Road 171 in the Alpine Community was arrested Thursday evening after an investigation into the death of Sheree Whitt pointed in his direction.

"Last night [May 28] we conducted a search warrant at the residence of Raymond Pannell," Edwards said. "Later on in the night, he was charged with murder and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon."

Edwards said Pannell went before Judge David Garrison Friday morning and his bond was set at $1 million for the murder charge and $10,000 for the possession charge. In addition, Edwards said, Pannell said he was on probation due to a Mississippi Department of Corrections and was out on bond following a February arrest by Union County deputies for possession of methamphetamine and felony fleeing.

"Judge Garrison has revoked that bond," he said. "If you are out on a felony bond and commit another felony that carries over five years, the judge can revoke your prior bond."

Whitt, 47, was found lying in her driveway at 1144 County Road 225 last Friday morning. Edwards said they received a call at 11:26 a.m. and, upon finding her body, investigators contacted the medical examiner, Mississippi Crime Lab and Mississippi Bureau of Investigation.

"It was determined that she had passed away from an apparent gunshot wound," Edwards said.

He said investigators recovered a gun last Sunday that is believed to be the murder weapon.

The sheriff said Pannell became a person of interest during the investigation into Whitt's death due in part to his probation and the MDOC warrant.

"Other things that had developed in the investigation had kinda pointed at him," he said. "When we went to his home and conducted the search warrant, we found other evidence that we believe may be valuable to the case and he was brought here for questioning."

Edwards said that Pannell and Whitt were acquaintances and that they lived within two miles of each other. He went on to say that it appears Pannell believed Whitt had taken some property from him and that may have led to the alleged murder.

According to the sheriff, there is no evidence that anyone else was involved in Whitt's death.

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