Details in Willie Jones case are released during court hearing
Details of what happened in the murder of Willie “Chill” Jones are beginning to come out after Tuesday’s court appearance for Austin Brookshire, age 18, who is charged with murder in the Jones case. Details on what transpired on July 5th and July 6th were released during the hearing in Millard in front of Justice Court Judge Ben Breland.
Dustin Gray, who was arrested on a firearm violation and is still in custody in Pueblo, Colorado since last Wednesday, had told local investigators his account of the events during questioning since his arrest and incarceration.
Gray said Brookshire, who is Gray’s biological brother, shot and killed Jones in the rear seat of Gray’s car. Gray told investigators that he went to Jones home on July 5th at approximately 11:00 p.m. to give Jones a ride to another location to buy illegal narcotics for Jones’ alleged drug supply. Gray said Jones was carrying between $10,000 to $40,000 in cash at that time. Gray said Brookshire shot and killed Jones in the backseat of Gray’s car in the early hours of July 6.
Gray told authorities that he and Brookshire took Jones’ body to Texas Flat Road and left the body off the road in the woods. According to affadavits, on the afternoon of July 6, Gray attempted to have the car cleaned at a car wash in Picayune, but was denied service after an employee of the car wash observed blood in the rear passenger seat as well as shell casings. Gray tried to bribe the employee with cash, but the employee refused to service the car.
Gray later contacted a sibling in Harrison County, MS, and asked him to replace the back seat of the car. James (Jim) Gray of Picayune, Dustin Gray’s father, who is an attorney, found the car and immediately notified law enforcement authorities after he saw blood in the rear seat of the car.
Based on this information, Picayune Police searched Dustin and Erica Gray’s home and found an assortment of firearms including one that had been reported stolen. According to Picayune Police Department Assistant Chief Dustin Moeller, the stolen firearm allowed them to issue a warrant for the arrest of Dustin Gray and his wife Erica who had fled the premises. At that time, the couple were also listed as persons of interest in the disappearance of Jones.
Last Wednesday evening, Dustin and Erica Gray were arrested in Pueblo, Colorado during a traffic stop and investigators from both the Picayune Police Department and Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department traveled to Colorado to question the two suspects.
After his appearance before Judge Breland, Brookshire was denied bond and was appointed a public defender.
Dustin Gray and his wife Erica Gray are awaiting extradition back to Mississippi. A juveline, also a biological sibling of Dustin Gray, was arrested on Monday on a charge of accessory to murder.
Warrants for Dustin Gray’s arrest on a first-degree charge in the murder of Jones, and Erica Gray’s arrest for accessory after the fact to murder, have been issued according to Pearl River County Chief Investigator Marc Ogden.
A body was recovered last Friday in the area near Texas Flat Road in Hancock County where Dustin Gray said he and Brookshire had left Jones’ body. Due to the condition of the remains recovered, Pearl River County Coroner Derek Turnage said they would have to rely on DNA testing by the state’s Medical Examiner’s Office to verify the identity of the body.