Police Look for Motive in Gruesome Murder - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Copiah County 08/05/05

Police Look for Motive in Gruesome Murder

By Mari Payton

A man walking down the street in Copiah County makes a startling discovery inside a trash bag, launching a murder mystery. Police say another man has confessed to the crime, and he's now behind bars.

Witnesses say it was a gruesome site, the body of 32-year-old Terri Graham from Jackson thrown out like a piece of trash Saturday afternoon.

"All I did was look at the head. When I see the head, that's as far as I went,” said John Shelton, the person who discovered the body.

Jackson police arrested 25-year-old James Thurmond the third almost a week later, charging him with Graham's murder. A man who works at the gravel pit saw Terri Graham's body on the side of the road. It was wrapped in several sheets and trash bags.

"Something just told me there might be a body. I don't know why; I think I was meant to find her," Shelton suggested.

Thursday afternoon, investigators searched Thurmond's house on Shadow Lawn Drive off Terry Road. Thurmond was arrested Thursday night after getting off a bus in downtown Jackson. JPD investigators say Graham was a Jackson prostitute and Thurmond picked her up.

"Our officers take the fingerprints to the crime lab. Fingerprints do work sometimes, and the crime lab was able to put a match to who the lady was," said Copiah County Sheriff Harold Jones.

The Copiah County Sheriff's Department says Graham was shot four times in her upper body. Investigators are now looking for a motive in what they're calling a horrendous crime.

Another man, Arrick Harris, was charged with accessory after the fact. Both he and Thurmond are being held without bond at the Hinds County Detention Center. JPD investigators say they both confessed to the crime.

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