‘They knew the victim’: Copiah Co. couple arrested, charged with murder

‘They knew the victim’: Copiah Co. couple arrested, charged with murder
Donald Free (L) and Monica Barnett (R) (Source: Copiah County Sheriff's Office)

COPIAH CO., Miss. (WLBT) - Copiah County Sheriff Byron Swilley gave WLBT’s David Kenney new information in Tuesday’s arrest of Donald Free, 25, and Monica Barnett, 30.

The couple is being held on murder and conspiracy to commit murder charges in the death of Cedric Smith, November 13.

Deputies say the crime took place on Russell Circle in Wesson.

It appears the trio visited for a while, then the victim was shot in the head, officials say.

Although the motive is unclear, the sheriff says his investigation has uncovered that the couple knew the victim.

Free and Barnett were identified as possible suspects after a person they allegedly kidnapped was released.

That individual, investigators say, shared information with deputies that led to an arrest.

The couple was taken into custody Tuesday in Crystal Springs, hours after deputies asked for the public’s help in finding them.

Mississippi Bureau of Investigation is assisting in this case by processing the car the couple was found in at the time of their arrest.

They are awaiting their initial court appearance which could happen Wednesday or Thursday.

The murder weapon has yet to be recovered.

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