Three Charged in Sunday Murder

Meridian, Miss. Three people have been charged in connection with the capital murder of Billy Putnam, 87.

Putnam was robbed and shot in the parking lot of Vowell's Market on North Hills Street in Meridian Sunday afternoon.

Shon Byrd, 16, is charged with armed robbery and capital murder.

Two others, DeCarlos Clark, 36, and Veronica Ferguson, 20, were charged as accessories after-the-fact.

Putnam's family is in shock that this happened to an innocent elderly man shopping in the middle of the day in north Meridian.

They say even more unbelievable to them is that a teenager is charged with the crime. Police have also confirmed Byrd was wearing an ankle bracelet at the time of the crime due to a previous charge.

In a cruel coincidence, Putnam's granddaughter works as a dispatcher for Metro Ambulance. She unknowingly took the call about her grandfather's shooting.

"We received a call that a subject had been shot in the parking lot of the grocery store and shortly after that, the coroner approached me and let me know that is was my grandfather," said Davida Hopkins.

"You know, it's sad that someone can live 87 years and be in decent health, and still do normal daily things, and still mow the lawn and take care of the chores around home, and then one day go to the grocery store to buy flowers for his wife and a few grocery items, and he's gone," said great-grandson Greg Mitchell.

Putnam's grandchildren are remembering him as hardworking and loyal. They say their grandmother wants to express her gratitude for everyone's prayers and concern, and to Interim Police Chief Buck Roberts for personally calling the family and updating them on the investigation and the arrests.

Byrd's bond was set at $1 million for the armed robbery charge. It was set at $750,000 for Clark and $250,000 for Ferguson. Bond on the capital murder and accessory charges was denied for all three suspects.


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