Pearl mayor’s claim about chase suspect facing capital murder charge isn’t true, Hinds officials say

Hinds DA’s office told WLBT they don’t know where Mayor Jake Windham got that information
Published: Jul. 27, 2022 at 7:38 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Less than a week after Pearl Mayor Jake Windham told a room full of reporters that the suspect who ran from his officers was also a capital murder suspect being investigated by the Hinds County District Attorney’s office, that same office has debunked that claim.

Windham had shared a number of crimes he said were tied to 20-year-old Brandon Andrews, who Pearl police chased into Jackson Thursday after the individual refused to stop for traffic violations.

Windham provided that list to reporters and also reiterated those allegations during a press conference Friday, with the most significant claim that Andrews was a suspect in a Jackson capital murder case, facing charges of kidnapping and murder.

“We like to verify and confirm information before we put it out,” Windham said Friday. “I want to verify something before I talk to you guys.”

3 On Your Side began digging into those claims to get an idea of Andrews’ criminal history and what that might say about his actions Thursday that led to the death of 32-year-old Brad Pennington, a beloved postal worker whose routes ran through South Jackson.

That cursory search through court documents revealed no indictments for Andrews in Hinds County.

The Hinds County DA’s office told WLBT Wednesday that Andrews isn’t being charged in that case at all, and they didn’t know where Windham got that information.

Andrews’ attorney, Trent Walker, calls the capital murder claim “unsubstantiated.”

“This kid came up missing, later found dead, and the police questioned Mr. Andrews since he was known to have communicated with this young man,” Walker said. “That was the extent of that. As far as I know, he was never a suspect and was never charged.”

3 On Your Side contacted Windham and shared the attorney’s concerns.

Windham walked back calling Andrews a suspect in the capital murder case, instead referring to him as a person of interest in a statement released Wednesday afternoon.

“The information released regarding Brandon Andrews’ criminal history during last Friday’s press conference, was then and is still, true and accurate,” Windham said in the statement. “Brandon Andrews is a person of interest in a kidnapping and capital murder case in the city of Jackson. The information came directly to Pearl Police Investigators from Jackson Police personnel.”

Windham said JPD works closely with his city’s police department on a daily basis sharing information on many cases, including that particular murder case.

3 On Your Side did confirm other charges against Andrews that Windham disclosed, however.

Flowood Police Chief Rickey McMillan said Andrews had been arrested on felony charges three months ago for possession of narcotics with intent to distribute and possession of a stolen firearm.

Andrews had been out on felony bond for the charges, McMillan said.

The Hinds County DA’s office also confirmed charges from Byram against Andrews for armed robbery and shooting into an occupied vehicle from last year, though those charges had not yet been presented to the district attorney’s office.

Windham told reporters Friday twice that he had shared crimes Andrews had been convicted of, too, though that’s not true either.

Nothing in Windham’s release says Andrews had been convicted on any charge.

Walker also addressed rumors circulating on social media that his client had outstanding warrants.

“He has been pulled over and cited a number of times, and if he was wanted, one would think that would have been discovered,” Walker said. “I would have reason to believe this officer would have recognized his vehicle passing by.”

The pursuit is being investigated by the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Postal Service.

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