MOSS POINT, MS (WLOX) - Nearly eight hours of testimony in federal court Wednesday revealed more details about the burglary of a Moss Point home where nearly 50 weapons were stolen. Many of the suspects accused in the case have a long criminal rap sheet, some tested positive for drugs, including one who is pregnant. Many of them are related.
An ATF agent took the stand telling the court the homeowner, who is a federal firearms licensee, is still trying to get a complete inventory of his personal gun collection. The agent said some of the paperwork was lost during Hurricane Katrina. Right now, ATF knows of 48 weapons stolen from the home; 46 of those are firearms, the other two are silencers.
Twelve of the stolen weapons have been recovered, while 36 remain on the streets. The agent said seven of those are automatic machine guns.
Seven suspects are being charged in the case: Jessica Romero, 25; Princeton Knox, 33; Aubrey Knox, 35; Kenneth Knox, 46; Catina Towne-Henderson; Theodore Towne, 20; and LaKeith Smith, 20.
Princeton, Aubrey and Kenneth Knox are all brothers. Catina Towne-Henderson is the mother of Theodore Towne and Damian Towne. Damian is a suspect, but has not yet been charged in the case.
Citing the safety of the community, a judge ruled that six of the seven suspects will be held without bond until trial. A ruling was not made for Theodore Towne; the judge said he wanted to learn more about his family life before making a final decision. Theodore Towne is scheduled to be back in court Tuesday morning for a final decision.
LaKeith Smith is accused of being the mastermind of the group. An ATF agent told a judge some of the suspects said Smith called Damian Towne and Theodore Towne and told them, "I have a lick," which means burglary, and to meet him right away. According to testimony, Smith worked at a landscaping business which did work at the victim's home.
During Smith's detention hearing his mother, Sherri Smith, took the stand. She described her son to the judge as a, "good child" who "likes to help people." When Sherri Smith was asked if her son was a danger to the community, one of her other children started yelling, "No, no, no! That's my mamma." US Marshals rushed over and had to escort him out of the courthouse.
Brothers Theodore and Damian Towne allegedly went with Smith to steal the guns. An ATF agent said Jessica Romero, Catina Towne-Henderson and Kenneth Knox helped sell some of the weapons and negotiate a price.
Testimony revealed Kenneth Knox called his brother, Aubrey Knox, to see if he wanted to buy some of the guns. Aubrey Knox allegedly bought six of the guns, three of them machine guns, from Theodore Town. An ATF agent said Aubrey Knox put the guns at the home of his other brother, Princeton Knox. That's where agents found three buried in a burn pile in the back yard, and three others in Princeton's truck.
Some of the other guns were found at Catina Towne-Henderson's home at 2313 West Park Drive in Gautier. Several of the other defendants allegedly live at that residence, too. ATF agents went into the home, which they said didn't even have electricity. Agents found an extension cord leading from the neighbor's home.
Jessica Romero has two children and is four months pregnant. Agents said she and her children lived with Catina Towne-Henderson, who is the mother of her boyfriend, Damian Towne. The pregnant Romero tested positive for marijuana Wednesday morning.
Catina Towne-Henderson's daughter, Ashely Magee, was in tears on the stand asking for her mom to be let out on bond. Magee told the court she has a 9-year-old sister who has Down syndrome and other health problems, and needs her mom to take care of her. Henderson has been convicted of several other charges and has been in and out of jail for the past several years. She also tested positive for marijuana. In the end, the judge ordered Henderson to be held without bond.
If you have any information about the case or where the remaining guns are, you should call Crime Stoppers at 1-877-787-5898.