2 dead in shooting

 

(Accused killer John Scott has initial appearance - Sheriff Leo Mask (second from left) and City chief Larry Poole escort Scott back to jail.)

By REGINA BUTLER

Progress Staff Writer

RANDOLPH--A mother of one son, just along for the ride, and Dudley Coleman, a 41-year-old Grenada man, are both dead in an execution style slaying in an isolated part of the county.

The woman was identified as Jennifer Rene Lenard, 22 of 403 Pecan Circle Apartments, Duck Hill (near Grenada).

She was dead at the scene. Coleman’s address was listed as P.O. Box 33 Gore Springs (near Grenada).

He died Tuesday morning at North Mississippi Medical Center.

A 33-year-old Pontotoc County man, John D. Scott of 4157 Highway 76, is in jail today accused of gunning down the pair.

Both were shot in the back of the head.

Bail was set at $1 million Monday for Scott.

The late Saturday afternoon shooting left the woman dead on the side of the road and the man critically wounded still sitting in the seat of his van.

He died at 5:35 a.m. Tuesday morning, according to Pontotoc County Coroner Kim Bedford.

Wreck scene

The initial call came into the dispatch at 4:30 p.m. Saturday and was at first thought to be a wreck on Hoedown Road.

“When we first got the call, we thought we were coming to a wreck scene, then another caller said the girl was shot,” said Pontotoc County Sheriff Leo Mask.

At first officers thought it was a homicide-suicide.

The woman was lying face down in the powder dry dirt along the side of the road. The man, still alive but unconscious, was strapped in the van, about 50 feet away. The vehicle was still in drive and running, stopped only by the cattle fencing.

“After talking with medical personnel and further investigation, we determined there was at least a third person involved because both victims were shot in the back of the head.”

Execution style slaying

Lenard is believed to be a girlfriend of Coleman.

“It appears to be an execution style killing,” said Sheriff Mask.

Mask said the shooting occurred on a deserted road off of Antioch Church Road in the South Pontotoc area.

“Coleman and Scott knew each other. They had worked together and Scott apparently owed Coleman money.”

Mask said the pair was going to meet at the Sonic in Bruce.

“He (Scott) said he saw Coleman earlier and started for Bruce. But Scott told officers he feared for his life, and his girlfriend’s and her child’s life, so he arranged for them to meet on Highway 9 South.”

Scott’s story

Mask said according to the accused killer, Coleman picked him up on Highway 9 South in a Toyota mini-van.

When they were driving on Hoedown Road, which is a gravel road less than a mile North of Highway 9 South, the men “got into a heated argument.

“He (Scott) pulled out a .44 magnum revolver type pistol and shot Coleman in the back of the head.

“The girl was frightened so she jumped out of the van and Scott shot after her.”

Mask said she fell and officers believe at that point the van ran over her, because the vehicle was still in drive.

“After the vehicle hit the fence, Scott jumped from it and ran to her and shot her in the back of the head.”

The impact of the .44 magnum bullet created a four-inch crater in the ground.

“We dug down about two or three more inches below where she was lying to retrieve the bullet,” said Mask.

Pontotoc County coroner Kim Bedford said her cause of death “was a single shot gun wound to the head.”

Bedford also confirmed there was “a tire print on the blue jean leg.” (of the woman.)

Mask said Scott ran into the wooded area south of the scene to elude officers.

“He headed through some rough, snaky country,” said Mask, “to get back to his car which was parked on Highway 9 South between the Antioch Road and the county line.”

Scott’s arrest

Scott was arrested about four hours after the first call.

Mask said as he and his deputy were waiting on the wrecker service to come pick up the mini-van, he got a call that someone was “messing around” a pond levy not too far from the scene.

“I went down there and it was the suspect,” said Mask.

Mask said Scott was muddy “and there was a rip in his pants where one of his bullets grazed him. He told me he must have cocked his gun one more time as he was running from the scene, because it went off and grazed his leg.”

Mask said he arrested Scott at 8:15 p.m.

“He has fully cooperated with us since his arrest. He told us he threw a gun into the pond.”

Mask also said during the course of the conversation with Scott that he admitted he had been using crystal-methamphetamine for four days.

Weapon recovered

Divers searched from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Sunday before recovering a .44 magnum revolver from the water.

Justice Court Judge Phil Weeks set bail at $1 million Monday.

Authorities say since Coleman has died the charges will be amended to reflect a double murder, and the bail will be amended also.

Authorities indicated in court that the case would be presented to the next grand jury in November.

Scott’s grand jury bond date is set for November 21.

Coroner Bedford said Coleman’s body was scheduled for an autopsy Tuesday night.

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