Two Men Charged in Rankin County Received Life Sentences

For Immediate Release
December 1, 2011
For more information, please contact
Michael Guest at (601) 825-1472

Madison and Rankin Counties’ District Attorney Michael Guest announced today that following a four- day trial that Clarence Jones was found guilty of Capital Murder and Motor Vehicle Theft. One of his co-defendants, Jerry Durr, pled guilty to Murder for his role in the death of Stephen Johnson. Jones was sentenced to life without parole plus ten years and Durr received a sentence of life.

Law enforcement were contacted on Tuesday, February 22, 2011, by Johnson’s stepfather who reported that Johnson, and Johnson’s truck, were missing. Authorities said that when they arrived at 222 Rankin Hills Place they noticed forced entry to the residence and blood on walls and floor.

Jerry Durr was identified as a suspect in the disappearance of Johnson and officers from the Rankin and Hinds Counties’ Sheriff’s Department went to 2862 Greenview Street, in Jackson, to arrest him for the burglary of Johnson’s residence. After his arrest Durr admitted to being involved in the murder of Stephen Johnson, and led authorities to the 2800 block of Shiloh Road, in the Pelahatchie where Johnson’s body was found covered up with a blanket, with two large limbs holding the blanket down.

An autopsy of the victim’s body determined that Johnson died of a blunt trauma to the head and upper body.

Once Durr arrived back at the Sheriff’s Department he again admitted to participating in the murder and he also implicated Jones and Warren in the death of Johnson. Jones, after his arrest, gave a statement to law enforcement admitting to striking the Johnson and helping Durr dispose of the victim’s body.

Guest stated, “The three men forcefully entered the residence by kicking in the door, and each took turns beating Johnson. After Johnson’s death the defendants ransacked the house looking for anything of value. Warren left the residence with 2 chainsaws and climbing gear that was taken from the house. Jones and Durr then loaded Johnson’s body in the back of Johnson’s vehicle and drove it to a wooded area to dispose of Johnson’s body. The victim’s truck was later recovered two doors down from the residence where Durr and Jones were arrested, in an abandoned home’s garage. The vehicle was processed for evidence and the victim’s blood was found in the back of the truck.”

Guest continued, “I am very grateful for the job law enforcement did in solving this brutal death. This case is a strong testament to why we must continue to diligently support our law enforcement in their efforts to keep us safe. These convictions and sentences serve as a deterrence to others, and continues to show that the public has no tolerance for criminals like Durr and Jones who prey on others.”

Tramell Warren is currently being held without bond in the Rankin County Jail. He is set for trial May 14, 2012.