Two men charged with wheelchair-bound woman's death

Johnny Townsend (l), Joe Loggins (r) (Photos courtesy Jackson Co. Sheriff's Dept.)
Johnny Townsend (l), Joe Loggins (r) (Photos courtesy Jackson Co. Sheriff's Dept.)

By Patrice Clark - bio | email

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - After a month long investigation, Sheriff Mike Byrd and his deputies linked Johnny Lee Townsend and Joe Anthony Loggins to the killing of Donna Slater.  Now both men are in the Jackson County Jail charged with capital murder.

"The detectives division, they started working on the case and they did not stop until we had the two suspects," Sheriff Mike Byrd said.

"We did have some DNA evidence out, and out of that we subpoenaed several phone records, and we subpoenaed some other information. Based on the analysis of all this information, it led us where we needed to be to question these two suspects," Investigator Mick Sears said.

Investigators say Townsend actually knew the victim. In fact, police say Townsend's girlfriend worked for Slater, and he also did some jobs for the disabled woman.

On March 5, investigators say Townsend and Loggins robbed and stabbed Slater at her home on Willow Branch Road in the Orange Grove community.

"It appears from the location of where the initial assault took place and where we found the body of Ms. Slater, she did make some attempt to exit the house and get to her parents that lived next door. She did remain alive for several seconds after the attack."

"This is pretty bad when you have someone who can't defend themselves. Kind of like a child who can't defend themselves when someone does this to them, it is awful," Sheriff Byrd said. "I hope they get what's coming to them."

The men are no strangers to crime. Sheriff Byrd said Townsend was actually arrested a day after the incident for a probation violation. He said Loggins was arrested at a rehabilitation center.

"I will say we have a very strong case against both of them, and there is no doubt in my mind that they did this."

Loggins and Townsend had an initial court appearance Thursday before a county court judge who denied bond for both men. No preliminary hearing date has been set at this time.

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