State detectives join investigation of black man’s hanging in Scott County

The death of a black man found hanging from a tree in Scott County is being reviewed by the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation.

Willie Jones, 21, was found dead Feb. 8.

The Scott County Sheriff’s Department has called for an MBI investigation, Mississippi Department of Public Safety Commissioner Marshall Fisher said in a news release Friday.

Scott County Sheriff Mike Lee has said no foul play is suspected, MS News Now has reported.

State officials are being a bit more cautious.

“All evidence is being considered and at this time, no conclusions have been reached,” Fisher said.

Further complicating questions around the apparent suicide is that a drive-by shooting had occurred at the property on Green Grove Road, where Jones was found dead, the sheriff told MS News Now.

Lee also asked the FBI and the Attorney General’s Office for help over the concerns of Jones’ family, WTOK-TV reports.

Lee has addressed what appears to be concerns of a racially motivated killing.

“There’s a multi-racial family that lives in the home,” Lee told MS News Now. “So to say that it’s racially motivated, it’s just no evidence of that.”

Jones’ body was sent to the Mississippi Forensics Laboratory.

The hanging of a black man in Mississippi and a family’s concerns brings back memories of the hanging death of Raynard Johnson in the Kokomo community in 2000.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson went to Kokomo to ease tensions while supporting justice.

The teenager’s family was convinced he had been lynched. Officials and separate autopsies confirmed Johnson’s death was self-inflicted.

Robin Fitzgerald: 228-896-2307, @robincrimenews