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Suspect in Bogalusa bar owner’s murder arrested after alleged bank robbery in Mississippi

David Rester Jr. of Vidalia, La., was arrested Saturday (March 4) on suspicion of robbing a...
David Rester Jr. of Vidalia, La., was arrested Saturday (March 4) on suspicion of robbing a bank in Waveland, Miss. Rester also is suspected of murdering Bogalusa bar owner Marl Smith on March 3, authorities said.(Harrison County (Miss.) Sheriff's Office)
Published: Mar. 5, 2022 at 12:32 PM CST
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WAVELAND, Miss. (WVUE) - A Louisiana man whose alleged two-state crime spree included the murder of a bar owner in Bogalusa, the robbery and sexual battery of a Pearl River store clerk and a bank robbery in Waveland is in custody following a high-speed police chase in Mississippi.

David Rester Jr. of Vidalia, La., was apprehended around midday Friday (March 4), after a chase that reached speeds of more than 120 mph ended on Mississippi Highway 15 in D’Iberville, Harrison County authorities said.

Police from Waveland initiated the pursuit after Rester, 51, allegedly robbed a bank in the Mississippi city. Driving a white Honda Accord, Rester sped through Harrison and Hancock counties and on Interstate 10 toward Gulfport before finally being stopped at Lamey Bridge Road with a bag of money in his vehicle, police said.

Detectives with the Major Crime Unit of the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office later confirmed that Rester is the man suspected of murdering Washington Parish bar owner Marl Wayne Smith on Thursday night during a robbery of Smith’s Pub Lounge in Bogalusa. The agency said it will seek to extradite Rester from Mississippi to face a murder charge that would carry a mandatory life sentence in Louisiana.

Related coverage: Bogalusa bar owner murdered during alleged ATM robbery, sheriff says

St. Tammany authorities also said they had obtained arrest warrants for Rester in connection with a Feb. 27 incident at a Pearl River-area convenience store, where a store clerk was robbed and sexually assaulted. Rester will be booked with armed robbery, aggravated second-degree battery and felony sexual battery in that case, according to the STPSO.

St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Randy Smith’s office said Rester confessed to those crimes and to the robbery and murder of Smith during an interview Friday after his arrest.

Marl Wayne Smith was killed March 3 by an alleged robber in his bar in Bogalusa, officials say.
Marl Wayne Smith was killed March 3 by an alleged robber in his bar in Bogalusa, officials say.(Facebook)

“Criminals do not care about jurisdictional lines, which is what makes communication and cooperation between agencies imperative in solving crimes and taking dangerous criminals like this one off the street,” Smith said in a written statement. “Thank you to everyone involved for the work they did to identify and arrest this individual.”

Rester currently is being held in the Harrison County jail on an initial bond of $150,000 for felony evasion of police. Additional charges linked to the Waveland bank robbery are expected by Monday.

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