Man Pleads to Two Consecutive Life Sentences in 2007 Double Homicide

For Immediate Release
December 3, 2008
For more information, please contact
Michael Guest at (601) 825-1472

Madison and Rankin Counties’ District Attorney Michael Guest announced today that William Tackett pled guilty to murder in a shooting over a child custody dispute and will serve two consecutive life sentences. Tackett confessed to killing Travis McGuffee and his stepdaughter Heather McGuffee on June 7, 2007. Tackett was the step grandfather of the child who was ordered to be returned to his parents, the McGuffee’s.

On that date, a 911 dispatcher received a call from Tackett who stated that he had shot two individuals and needed the police to respond. Upon arriving, the Richland Police Department found Tackett outside and located the bodies of Travis and Heather McGuffee in the front yard. Both victims were pronounced dead at the scene.

Tackett shot and killed both victims after a Hinds County Chancery Judge gave the McGuffee’s custody of their son. Tackett and his wife had been appointed as an informal guardian and had cared for the child for several years. After the Hinds County Chancery Judge granted the parents custody, Tackett spoke with Travis McGuffee and made arrangements for him to pick the child up from his residence.

After the arrangements were made, Tackett waited outside of his house for the McGuffee’s to arrive. Upon arrival, the McGuffee’s exited their vehicle and Tackett opened fire. He emptied a .38 caliber pistol and then, according to his statement, he went inside and retrieved a .32 caliber pistol and then returned outside and shot each victim as they laid in the yard. The results of the autopsy showed that each victim was shot three times.

Ballistics confirmed that the .38 caliber pistol was used during the shooting. The .32 caliber pistol was later found, and had two spent rounds in the pistol cylinder.

Guest stated, “What makes this case so senseless and sad is the boy who everyone was attempting to protect is now left without his father and mother. We have a justice system to work through disputes such as this: this was a senseless crime that should never have occurred.”

Guest concluded, “When people take justice into their own hands, terrible acts of violence such as this tend to occur. We must continue to keep this young boy and the McGuffee family in our thoughts and prayers as they continue to work through the impact of this terrible crime.”