Crime

‘This is crazy,’ suspect in Dino’s Gifts stabbing says at bond hearing

The judge warned them not to talk!

County Court Judge Larry Wilson threw Clinton Buchanan out of his courtroom Wednesday for defying his orders and continuing to talk with Erin Diaz.
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County Court Judge Larry Wilson threw Clinton Buchanan out of his courtroom Wednesday for defying his orders and continuing to talk with Erin Diaz.

The couple charged Monday in the armed robbery of Dino’s Gifts on Washington Avenue, north of Ocean Springs, had a preliminary hearing Wednesday morning and County Court Judge Larry Wilson set their bond at $15,000 each.

The charges include violence using a knife.

Diaz is accused of stabbing her ex-husband Luis Diaz Jr, owner of the store, with a knife and taking $166.

She left the store and got into a maroon Dodge Magnum believed to be driven by Buchanan on Saturday, according to investigators, and they were arrested in Gulfport on Monday.

During the proceedings, court staff separated Erin Elizabeth Diaz, also known as Erin Elizabeth Calhoun, 23, and Clinton Buchanan, 33, for talking.

Judge Wilson told them several times not to talk. Buchanan eventually was escorted from the courtroom because they continued to talk.

Buchanan also expressed exasperation to the judge and kept making comments like, “This is crazy,” when the judge asked him whether he was employed or had prior convictions.

They were arrested, after a tip to U.S. Marshals that they were seen in the woods around the Flying J truck stop on Interstate 10 in Gulfport.

The incident happened Saturday and they were arrested at 5:30 p.m. on Monday and have remained in the Jackson County Adult Detention Center.

Diaz and Buchanan told the judge they were not on probation or parole and had no prior convictions. Harrison County records indicate otherwise.

When the judge explained the proceedings of the initial appearance and how bonding works, Erin Diaz interrupted to say, “I’m not agreeing I did this.”

Wilson explained that the court appearance was not a trial, but rather the start of a process, and that later their case would be presented to a grand jury.

After Buchanan was escorted out, the judge told Erin Diaz that she could relay to Buchanan any additional details from the hearing he might miss.

She said, “I can’t talk to him!”

Wilson said, “Don’t have any contact with him. Let your attorney handle this.”

She cried when she was leaving the courtroom.

Both told Wilson that they live in the 13000 block of Mock Street in Gulfport. Investigators had previous addresses of her living in Biloxi and him in Saucier.

Buchanan did tell the judge they have been doing small jobs, when asked if they were employed. She said she was unemployed.

According to Harrison County records, Erin Diaz was arrested in May 2016 on at least one charge of failure to appear in court in D'Iberville and Gulfport. She was fined in those cities.

Buchanan was arrested in 2013 on a 2006 charge of aggravated assault with a firearm and a 2007 charge of possessing a controlled substance. He was sentenced in 2014, according to the records, and served time for both offenses.

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