Three arraigned for Pine Bluff Road robbery

(From left) Buchanan, Mitchell and Upchurch
Staff Writer

A 21-year-old Chickasaw County man screamed obscenities at a judge and county prosecutor after having a $1,225,000 bond set in a Clay County home invasion kidnapping and armed robbery case on Monday.

"I didn't (expletive) do it," Hakeem Upchurch screamed as he was being wrestled from the Clay County Justice Courtroom Monday afternoon.

"A million dollars, are you (expletive) sick?" he yelled as he was being taken to the floor in the hallway outside the courtroom.

Clay County Justice Court Judge Chris McBrayer had just followed county prosecutor Michelle Easterling's bond recommendations -- $200,000 for armed robbery, $200,000 each for five counts of kidnapping, and $25,000 for one count of burglary -- when Upchurch, who was handcuffed, turned and snarled at Easterling and moved like he was going to lunge at her. Deputies immediately stepped in and removed him from the courtroom.

Upchurch and fellow Chickasaw County residents Clarence Mitchell III, 22, and Emmett Buchanan, 43, all are charged with the same thing in the Nov. 29 robbery at a home on Pine Bluff Road in Mantee in far western Clay County.

Judge McBrayer set bonds for all three at $1,225,000. Mitchell and Buchanan made few comments during their arraignments. Mitchell did ask for a preliminary hearing, which was tentatively set for Dec. 14.

All three said they would need public defenders because they can't afford an attorney.

A fourth suspect is still being sought.

Detectives also are trying to determine whether the group is responsible for a drive-by shooting the night of Nov. 30.

The house was hit by a number of bullets but investigators did not find any shell casings, Sheriff Eddie Scott said.

According to court proceedings and Scott, Roger Jones was outside his house on Pine Bluff Road Wednesday evening when four people pulled up and demanded money at gunpoint. Investigators say they still are trying to clarify whether all the suspects were armed or just some of them.

His wife, who was inside the house, heard the commotion in the yard and went to the door, drawing the attention of the suspects.

They forced the wife and four children -- ages 6 and 5 and 2-year-old twins -- at gunpoint into a closet in the rear bedroom of the brick home.

They made off with $1,150 and a cell phone, according to documents read during Monday's court hearing.

The victims were able to give detectives the names of possible suspects and Clay County investigators, with the help of Chickasaw County Sheriff's deputies, Houston Police and the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, arrested the trio at different times Saturday.

"We're ID'ing the fourth suspect," Scott said of the investigation. "We hope to make an arrest soon. We'll get him."

A handgun was recovered and is being analyzed at the state crime lab to see if it ties into any of the crimes.