OKTIBBEHA COUNTY, miss. (WCBI)- Handcuffed and shackled, that’s how Labor Day murder suspect Michael Devaughn appeared before a judge Wednesday evening in an Oktibbeha County Courtroom.
Earlier this week Devaughn was indicted on one count of capital murder and one count of sexual battery in the Starkville 1990 deaths of Betty Jones and Kathryn Crigler.
The Labor Day murders went unsolved for 28 years.
However, last October, investigators finally got the break they’ve been looking for and were finally able to crack this cold case.
Prosecutors said Devaughn’s nearly 30-year run from the law was reduced to simple strides heading in the direction of justice.
“It’s so important not only for getting the victims family justice, but also for the city of Starkville and the county of Oktibbeha,” said Scott Colom, District Attorney for the 16th Judicial District. “This was a crime that was really a sore subject for a long time and good police work resulted in indictments, now it’s our job to put it across the finish line and that’s what we plan to do.”
During his court appearance, Devaughn was read both charges being brought against him.
“He pled not guilty, but that was to be expected,” said Colom.
Oktibbeha County Circuit Judge Lee Coleman denied bond for the 51-year-old.
The Reinzi man is accused of going into Crigler’s home on September 3rd, 1990.
Crigler’s friend, Jones, was visiting at the time.
Police believe Jones answered a knock at the door and that’s when Devaughn allegedly made his way inside.
Devaughn is accused of killing Jones then going into the bedroom and sexually assaulting Crigler, leaving her for dead.
Starkville investigators used new resources like ancestry.com and DNA science at Parabon Labs in Virginia and at the Scales DNA lab in Jackson to find Devaughn.
Colom said at this time, the death penalty is still an option.
“Absolutely it’s on the table,” said Colom. “We’re going to consult with the victims family, go through the process that we have for determining whether to go for the death penalty or not, and after we’re done with that process we’re going to announce a decision and move forward.”
WCBI reached out to Devaughn’s attorney, however, he declined to comment on the matter.
At this time Colom said they don’t know when Devaughn’s next court appearance is going to be.
They’re still waiting to see if Devaughn is going to keep his court appointed attorney or hire someone new to represent him.
However, Colom expressed that once everything gets sorted out, he’s going to push this case to get moving as soon as possible.