February 12, 2019 11:21:16 AM
Authorities at a probable cause hearing for a Starkville man arrested for conspiracy to commit murder said the suspect attempted to pay multiple people $5,000 to kill the victim of a Friday night homicide.
Henry Neal Jr., 27, of Starkville, appeared before municipal judge Brian Kelley and was formally charged in connection with the Friday murder of Oktibbeha County resident Joseph Turnipseed Jr., 33. His bond was set at $2 million.
Starkville Police Department officers found Turnipseed dead from a gunshot wound at the West Main Arms Apartments while responding to a shots fired call just after 10 p.m. Friday.
Police believe Neal offered Turnipseed's killer $5,000 to commit the murder based on witness testimony and other evidence.
"His name came up about two or three hours into the investigation," SPD Detective Jonathan Headley said during the hearing. "Multiple witnesses said (Neal) had offered them $5,000 to kill (Turnipseed)."
Headley said he interviewed Neal later that evening.
"All he would say is that he knew the victim and they didn't get along," Headley said.
Headley said Neal was then placed under arrest based on witness statements and other evidence.
Kelley questioned the $2 million bond recommended by investigators.
"It's based on his criminal history," Headley told the judge. "He's had three domestic assault convictions and an armed robbery conviction. He is also facing a pending felony charges for the sale of narcotics."
Neal is currently out on $10,000 bond after being indicted in January on three counts of selling cocaine.
After the hearing, Neal was taken back to Oktibbeha County Jail on $2 million bond.
Public Information Officer Brandon Lovelady said the case remains under active investigation.
Police have asked that anyone with information on the case contact Starkville Police Department at 662-323-4131 or Golden Triangle Crimestoppers at 1-800-530-7151.
Slim Smith is a columnist and feature writer for The Dispatch. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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