Crime

She tried to walk away from her husband. Police say that’s when he shot her

A woman wounded outside her workplace was trying to get away from her husband when he shot her, an investigator’s sworn statement indicates.

Jerome Verdell Jefferson Sr. had his initial court appearance on an attempted murder charge Wednesday in connection with the Monday afternoon shooting at Memorial Physician’s Clinic on U.S. 49. The clinic is in the Orange Grove area of Gulfport.

Jefferson shot his wife during an argument as she walked away from him, an investigator’s affidavit says. The affidavit gives no other details.

The woman was seriously wounded behind the clinic at Acadian Plaza across the highway from Ashley Drive.

Jefferson, 47, of Gulfport, works about six miles away at Channel Chemical Corp. on Seaway Road, according to his paperwork requesting a court-appointed attorney. He is the father of three children, the paperwork says.

The woman was shot just outside a door at the back of the clinic. That’s where crime-scene technicians were gathering evidence as investigators looked on and patrol officers stood guard at the clinic just north of Golden Corral buffet restaurant.

The arrest warrant alleges Jefferson tried to kill his wife by deliberate design. That means police believe Jefferson armed himself and had enough time to consider committing the act and shot her anyway.

Gulfport police had been called to the clinic for a shooting and domestic dispute about 3:50 p.m.

Jefferson remains in custody on a $1 million bond.

He will likely be brought before a judge Wednesday for a preliminary hearing, Harrison County prosecuting attorney Herman Cox said.

A preliminary hearing is to determine if probable cause exists to send a case to a grand jury for possible indictment.

The state’s attempted murder law took effect in 2013 with penalties of 20 years to life in prison. Before that, a killing attempt was prosecuted as an aggravated assault, punishable by up to 20 years.

Robin Fitzgerald: 228-896-2307, @robincrimenews

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