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Man charged in killing of 2 women awaits mental evaluation

May 15, 2019 GMT

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Authorities are not saying if or when a Mississippi man will go on trial in the shooting deaths of two women on the same night in 2015.

Zebulum James, 25, of Jackson, is charged with two counts of murder. The Clarion Ledger reported Wednesday that he is in the Madison County jail, and a Hinds County assistant public defender, Alison Kelly, said James is awaiting evaluation from a state mental hospital.


On Nov. 19, 2015, 48-year-old Suzanne Hogan of Madison, Mississippi, was shot in the head outside a gas station in northwest Jackson, where she died. A short time later and a few miles away, 49-year-old Kristy Lynn Mitchell of Excelsior Springs, Missouri, was shot in the abdomen while she was in a restaurant parking lot in Ridgeland. Mitchell was taken to the University of Mississippi Medical Center, where she underwent surgery and later died.

The newspaper reported that a private psychiatrist, Dr. Benjamin Root of Ridgeland, found James suffered from chronic paranoid schizophrenia and wasn’t capable of understanding court proceedings or of rationally communicating with his attorney.

“He is still distracted by hallucinations and delusions,” Root said in his evaluation. “He is not capable of testifying in his own defense appropriately and his ability to understand is not commensurate with the severity of the case.”

Hogan’s father, Art Hogan of Florida, said Tuesday he has sent letters and emails to the Hinds County District Attorney asking about the status of the case but hasn’t received any updates.

“My wife and I still cry and are despondent over our daughter’s death,” Hogan said. “She was such a good person.”

The newspaper reported that Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith couldn’t be reached for comment.

James is also accused of shooting at a Jackson city bus, then into an occupied dwelling, then at another vehicle, as he ran away in northwest Jackson moments before the two fatal shootings.

When officers tried to escort James out after a hearing in 2016, he began screaming and said that demons were after him. Officers restrained James and removed him from the courtroom.


Information from: The Clarion Ledger, http://www.clarionledger.com