Moss Point Pastor Held In Capital Murder Case - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

12/02/04

Moss Point Pastor Held In Capital Murder Case

Dozens of Moss Point church members sat inside a courtroom Wednesday hoping to find some answers about their pastor. Since Saturday night, the Reverend Amos Hicks has been in jail, charged with killing his wife Lena after a confrontation at her Pascagoula apartment.

At Hicks' preliminary hearing, a judge listened to the details of the case that police put together from witnesses and others. It was enough to send the case to a grand jury, and keep Pastor Hicks behind bars.

Investigator Shelia Jenkins offered details from the only witness inside Lena Hicks' apartment Saturday night - a man named Darriel Wills.

Police say Wills told them shortly after Amos Hicks arrived at the apartment, a struggle began. Wills told police after Lena Hicks was stabbed, the pastor left and returned with a gun.

Pastor Hicks sat silently in courtroom Wednesday, offering no reaction to the accusations against him.

Some of Hicks' friends and colleagues seemed almost in shock at what they heard. No one wanted to believe a man of faith now faces a charge of murder.

"For the past 21 years, he has been a model pastor and has been responsible for a lot of growth in our district," Karl Sheffield said.

Mike Upkins calls himself Hicks' spiritual son.

"The things that have happened are really uncharacteristic of both individuals. It's just really tragic," Upkins said.

At the Church of the Living God, news of Lena Hicks tragic death, sent shock waves through the congregation. Courtroom testimony confirmed what many say was common knowledge - the couple were having marital problems. Lena Hicks got her own apartment two weeks ago.

Roy Goldsmith is the Interim Pastor at the Church of the Living God.

"All we know is he went there and saw whatever he saw and caused him to trip over the line."

Reverend Goldsmith told police Pastor Hicks called him Saturday night. The Reverend went to his friend's home and found Hicks standing the driveway, bleeding, with a gun in his hands.

"I didn't want to take a chance on something drastic to happen. I just forced him to give it to me and let me take him to the hospital to get some medical treatment."

Sheffield and Upkins have known the Hicks for years. Both have spoken to Pastor Hicks since he's been in jail.

"I feel this was a crime of passion. As the evidence comes out, I believe that as it moves forward, they all are going to see that a lot of it may have been provoked by things that elder Hicks saw, because it's not his nature," Sheffield said.

"We are all kind of torn between both of these people, because both of them were extremely close to us. My heart goes out to both sides," Upkins said.

Jackson County District Attorney Tony Lawrence says the case should go before the grand jury early next year. Until then, Amos Hicks will be held without bond.

Lena Hicks' Funeral will be this Saturday, December 4th, at the Greater Antioch Missionary Baptist Church in Pascagoula. Visitation starts at 11am, the funeral begins at noon.

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