DNA connects man now in Texas prison to 2004 murder at Brookhaven convenience store

Arron Lyons
Arron Lyons
Arron Lyons

BROOKHAVEN, Mississippi (AP) — After two other men were arrested and let go, DNA results have linked a man jailed in Texas to a 2004 murder in Mississippi.

Arron Lyons, 32, was indicted Sept. 10 on charges of first-degree murder, armed robbery and conspiracy to commit armed robbery.

Lyons is accused of killing John Deere, found shot three times outside of his Brookhaven convenience store on Jan. 16, 2004.

Tuesday, Mississippi Bureau of Investigation spokesman Warren Strain said DNA evidence from the crime scene was recently matched in a national database to Lyons, jailed in Houston on other charges.

Lincoln County Sheriff Steve Rushing said Lyons was served his indictment by Lincoln County and MBI investigators in Houston’s Harris County jail. Prosecutors in Lincoln County seek to extradite Lyons, a former Brookhaven resident.

The indictment against Lyons alleges that he planned and committed the armed robbery with other unindicted persons. Rushing and Lincoln County District Attorney Dee Bates declined comment on whether further arrests could be pending.

Rushing said deputies have been investigating Lyons for several months and said his indictment has nothing to do with previous arrests of Kenneth Baggett or William Hutson.

“They’re not connected to him at all. They are not connected to Lyons,” he told The Clarion-Ledger. “And the first information we had on (Lyons) was at the first of the year.”

Rushing worked as an investigator on the original murder 10 years ago.

In June 2004, Baggett was charged with killing Deere. Baggett was held in the Lincoln County Jail for almost three years. Baggett’s attorney Leslie Roussell later showed that during Baggett’s time in jail, retired Lincoln County Sheriff James Wiley Calcote and deputies contacted six inmates in the jail at different times and put them in the cell with Baggett to try and get information from the murder suspect.

Baggett was released on bond in 2006 and charges were dropped in 2007, in part over concerns about tainted evidence

“It feels good that they finally maybe got the right person, but at least Pete’s innocence is proven more or less,” Roussell said. “It seems to me the people of Lincoln County do owe him an apology, and definitely the people in power at the time.”

Huston was arrested as an accessory after the fact in 2006, but never indicted.