Neighbor Reacts To Apparent Murder In Jackson County - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

04/03/05

Neighbor Reacts To Apparent Murder In Jackson County

"I just figured it was another party or somebody had got caught with some weed or something like that."

That's what Singing River Apartments resident James Verlinde thought when police cars surrounded apartment 301 Friday night.

Verlinde says while it was usual for his neighbors to get a bit rowdy and attract attention.

He never dreamed death could become part of the equation.

"I never would have planned on anybody killing anybody," Verlinde says.

The Jackson County Sheriff's Department arrested Verlinde's neighbors 22-year-old John Woods, 21-year-old Bryan Carter, and 19-year-old Kerry Johnson on Friday charging them with the capitol murder of their roommate 18-year-old Derek Scott Williams.

Officials say the murder happened in Vancleave last month.

Which is around the same time Verlinde says he last saw Williams.

"The last time I saw him was probably about a month and a half ago. I saw him over there hanging out,"Verlinde says.

Since then Verlinde says the suspects have been keeping a low profile.

"Usually see quite a few people in that area on the weekends, Sundays. But I haven't seen them at all really for awhile. I don't know if they've been staying over there or what."

Verlinde says it's a sad situation.

He says Williams was simply a nice guy, tangled up with the wrong crowd.

"He seemed like he was trying to be cool. He seemed like the young kid rolling with the big dogs," Verlinde adds.

By Jaimee Goad

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