TUPELO • A Belmont woman is being held in the Lee County Jail on a $5 million bond, accused of stalking, kidnapping and killing a Baldwyn woman Tuesday.
The Baldwyn Police Department formally charged Shawnie Vel Young, 47, of 1 Witt Road, Belmont, with capital murder on Thursday. More details surrounding the death of Pamela Jean Britt, 63, came out during Young’s initial court appearance before Lee County Justice Court Judge Chuck Hopkins.
Baldwyn police investigator Shane Young, no relation, said the suspect left a residence in Corinth Tuesday morning, Feb. 11, in a borrowed car and drove to Baldwyn with the intent of killing Britt.
“She parked the car at the Fish Lake Store at the intersection of highways 366 and 370 and walked (more than a mile) to the house of Pam Britt,” investigator Young said. “She seized the victim in her garage and killed her. She was seen exiting the garage by Britt’s employer. She then tried to work her way back to Fish Lake Road where the car was.”
The investigator told the judge that when Young was captured, she had bus tickets to Indiana dated Feb. 12 in her possession. He said the suspect also had a stolen driver’s license, where the picture was similar enough that she could travel on the other woman’s identity.
“Due to the severity of the crime, I am going to deem you a menace to society and a danger to yourself,” Hopkins said before setting the bond.
Britt was employed at U-Save, a grocery store in downtown Baldwyn. She was known to go home for lunch. When she did not return to work Tuesday afternoon, the store owner went to check on her.
He spotted the suspect leaving the garage and called police. A neighbor saw the suspect run from the house and then hide in a field across the street. Police and the store owner found Britt’s body.
To be charged with capital murder, which can carry the death penalty, the killing has to take place during the commission of another felony. Baldwyn Police Chief Troy Agnew said the underlying felony in this case could be either robbery or kidnapping.
“She took $500 out of the victim’s purse and had it on her,” Agnew said. “Plus, she tied her up before.”
The chief said it appears Young had been planning the crime for a month or more. The victim complained to police in January that Young had placed a tracking device on her car in Nettleton.
“She had been watching (Britt) for a while,” Agnew said. “She knew that (Britt) went home for lunch most days. She left Corinth at 5 a.m. and drove to Baldwyn. She was waiting on her in the garage.”
Authorities said Young has not been cooperative during the investigation. She exercised her rights to counsel and to remain silent when police tried to interview her. She remained silent for most of the initial appearance, nodding occasionally and quietly saying “No, sir,” only when prompted.
While a motive for the killing has not been determined, Agnew said it appears to have been over a man.
The case will most likely be presented to the next Lee County grand jury in April. If she is indicted, it will be up to the district attorney whether to seek the death penalty. In Mississippi, a capital murder conviction has only two possible sentences – life without parole or death.