Investigators : Murder suspect cooperating "100 percent" - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Investigators : Murder suspect cooperating "100 percent"

By Al Showers

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - The man who reportedly confessed to killing a Hancock County woman is now charged with her murder.

Timothy Evans appeared in front of a Hancock County judge Friday morning, just days after he was arrested in a Florida hotel room. Investigators believe the 52-year-old Evans killed his landlord, Wenda Holling, in January, then dumped her body in a wooded area off of Highway 67 in Harrison County.

During his initial court appearance Friday morning, a calm and emotionless Evans had nothing to say to the media about the crime he's accused of committing. But officials say he's already said plenty to the arresting authorities.

"When he was taken into custody, he gave a confession to the Columbia County Sheriff's Department in Florida," said Sheriff Steve Garber. "We picked him up yesterday [Thursday]. We've transported him back. We've interviewed him here."

"He's cooperating with us, I'm going to say, 100 percent," Chief Investigator Kenny Hurt said. "He's given us every detail, so far, of what happened."

Sheriff's officials are releasing few details about the circumstances surrounding the murder. A motive, as well as exactly how Holling died, were not disclosed during the short hearing.

"We're not going to release the details of the investigation at this time," Sheriff Garber said.

"I think the important thing is an autopsy was performed by Dr. Paul McGarry and the cause of death was ruled a homicide," Investigator John Luther said.

A close friend of the Holling family told WLOX News that autopsy said Wenda Holling was strangled to death. Exactly what lead to the 70-year-old's death remains a mystery. But authorities believe alcohol could have played a role.

"I knew he was a heavy drinker, whether that's related right now I couldn't tell you. But myself, I would say alcohol would be related," Hurt said.

Justice Court Judge Jay Lagasse set a March 23 preliminary hearing court date for Evans. He will be held in the Pearl River County Jail under a $1 million bond until that time.

Timothy Evans is from Detroit, Michigan. Investigators said he moved to the coast and rented a room from Mrs. Holling about three and a half years ago.

Copyright 2010 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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