Crime

Poplarville investigating shooting that left man dead

Aritaeus Johnson, 19, was arrested December 21, 2017, by Poplarville Police on a charge of murder. He is being held at the Pearl River County jail with no bond posted.
Aritaeus Johnson, 19, was arrested December 21, 2017, by Poplarville Police on a charge of murder. He is being held at the Pearl River County jail with no bond posted.

A 26-year-old man shot in a convenience store parking lot Wednesday night died of a gunshot wound to the head, Pearl River County Coroner Derek Turnage said.

The coroner said David Lavel Gilmore, of Poplarville, died after being taken to the Pearl River County Hospital.

Gilmore was shot once about 9:10 p.m. in the parking lot of the Minute Mart at the corner of Mississippi 26 and Mississippi 11, Turnage said. The intersection is just west of Main Street.

Pearl River County deputies arrested Aritaeus Antwann Johnson, 19, also of Poplarville, on a charge of second-degree murder, according to the county jail docket.

The Picayune Item first reported the homicide, saying Police Chief Butch Raby had confirmed a shooting and Johnson’s arrest.

Turnage said Gilmore’s body was taken to the Mississippi Forensics Laboratory, previously known as the State Crime Lab in Pearl, which is near Jackson.

The autopsy has been completed and Gilmore’s remains were being returned Thursday, Turnage said.

It’s unclear if Gilmore and Johnson knew each other.

The Sun Herald is waiting on a call back from the police chief.

Poplarville police are investigating with help from the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation, the Pearl River County Sheriff’s Office and a state crime-scene unit, The Picayune Item reported.

State lawmakers added degrees of murder in 2014.

Second-degree murder was once considered “depraved heart” murder, a killing in an act that put a person in immediate danger without premeditation. It’s punishable by life in prison if a jury agrees. Otherwise, a judge must set a prison term of 20 to 40 years.

First-degree murder, once considered “by deliberate design” or with premeditation, has only one penalty — life without parole.

SunHerald.com will update this report.

Anita Lee: 228-896-2331, @calee99

Robin Fitzgerald: 228-896-2307, @robincrimenews

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