An Alcorn County man’s bond has been set at $11 million after his arrest for his connection to Starkville’s 1990 Labor Day murders.
Starkville Police arrested 51-year-old Michael Wayne Devaughn, of Rienzi, on Saturday on suspicion of capital murder and sexual battery. SPD confirmed at a Monday morning press conference that Devaughn, who was in the Tishomingo County Jail for unrelated drug charges, is a suspect in the 28-year-old case.
Devaughn is being held in the Oktibbeha County Jail. His bond has been set at $10 million for the capital murder charge and $1 million for the sexual battery charge. He’s scheduled to make an initial appearance in Starkville municipal court at 6 p.m. today.
Betty Jones, 65, and Katherine Crigler, 81, were attacked and killed in Crigler’s home at 306 Highway 82 E. in Starkville on Sept. 3, 1990.
Jones, according to an affidavit SPD released on Monday, was killed when Devaughn cut her throat with a knife. Devaughn also reportedly sexually assaulted Crigler, who was taken to the hospital, where a DNA profile was developed from a rape kit. Crigler later died from her injuries
SPD Detective Bill Lot, who has worked the case for nearly 15 years, said at Monday’s press conference police identified Devaughn through a DNA match. He said SPD received notification about the match on Saturday morning, and Devaughn was arrested later that day.
Police declined to speak about what led to securing a DNA match for Devaughn. Lott noted that the case, which has been cold for 28 years, is now an active one.
“There’s a difference when you’re talking about a cold case and you know nothing,” Lott said. “Now we have a person who has been arrested. That person is innocent until proven guilty. It’s not his job to prove his innocence — it’s our job to prove it and we do not want to be loose-lipped with any information other than what we can speak to and what we do know.”
The Dispatch will have full coverage from Monday’s press conference in Tuesday’s edition.
Alex Holloway was formerly a reporter with The Dispatch.