‘Cannot be held’: Second person arrested in JSU shooting case to be released

Published: Nov. 13, 2023 at 11:26 AM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Jamison Kelly Jr. walked into the Hinds County Courthouse in handcuffs. He’s walking out as a free man.

On Monday, Judge James Bell released Kelly from custody, saying there wasn’t enough probable cause to charge him in connection with the October 15 shooting death of a Jackson State University student.

Kelly is the second person arrested in connection with the shooting, and the second person released after Bell said there wasn’t enough evidence to charge him.

“He was on the ground when the shots took place. We don’t have evidence that Kelly knew [someone] with him picked up a gun or fired a gun, or evidence that [the shot] that hit Mr. Burns,” Bell said. “It fails to meet the minimum standard.”

“He cannot be held on the minimum evidence presented to the court.”

The hearing lasted about an hour. Deputies had to break up an argument between Kelly’s father and the father of Jaylen Burns after court adjourned.

The families of Jamison Kelly and Jaylen Burns have to be broken up during an altercation...
The families of Jamison Kelly and Jaylen Burns have to be broken up during an altercation Monday in Hinds County Court.(WLBT)

Kelly was charged with accessory after the fact for allegedly driving Joshua Brown away from the University Pointe Apartments following the shooting death of Jaylen Burns. However, evidence uncovered by WLBT shows that Brown was not on JSU’s campus at the time of the incident and was nearly 100 miles away near Hattiesburg. Brown was released from jail last week.

Jerry Campbell, Kelly’s attorney, was pleased with the judge’s decision but said the charges could be brought back up as the investigation into Burns’ murder continues.

“The charges have not been dismissed. He’s not being held at this point,” he said. “They can be brought back up through a grand jury indictment, but he’s not going to be held.”

Meanwhile, testimony at the hearing revealed more details about the October 15 incident involving the shooting, which involved as many as 20 students, including several members of a JSU fraternity.

It began early that day between student Elisha Brown and another student. Brown, the sister of Joshua Brown, contacted Kelly, saying she felt threatened, and Kelly came to the campus with three others.

“She said he was her best friend. They’re from the same hometown, grew up together,” Detective Terrence Jackson said.

Jackson is with JSU’s Department of Public Safety, the agency that initially investigated the case. The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation is now assisting.

The detective said tag readers and other video surveillance showed Kelly arriving on campus in a blue Acura and following Brown to the University Pointe Apartments.

According to testimony, Brown told investigators that she and her boyfriend had broken up earlier in the day, and that night, her boyfriend and several of his fraternity brothers, along with Jaylen Burns, went to her apartment to pick up his personal belongings.

An altercation began in the apartment and eventually spilled outside. Witnesses said someone with Kelly picked up a firearm in the kitchen. “A verbal altercation turned to a physical altercation and led to gunfire when Mr. Burns was shot,” Jackson said.

Kelly left the scene with three others after the shooting. No gun has been recovered and no one has admitted to firing the shots.

19-year-old Joshua Brown was initially charged with murder but was released from the Hinds County Detention Center on Friday after initially being held on no bond. His charges have since been dropped, according to the Hinds County District Attorney’s Office.

Kelly was still behind bars Monday when he was escorted by deputies to the Hinds County Courthouse.

Campbell questioned why his client was being held when the investigation was still incomplete.

Among issues, authorities had yet to interview anyone in the car with Kelly on the night of the shooting. Assistant District Attorney Gwen Agho told the court she had only heard of one of the three individuals mentioned by Campbell.

“How can you charge him with accessory after the fact when you don’t have the shooter,” Campbell asked. “You don’t need to be arresting people until you have some concrete proof.”

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