Police arrest man in MS highway killings

James D. Willie (Source: Tunica County Sheriff's Department)
James D. Willie (Source: Tunica County Sheriff's Department)

(RNN) – Authorities have arrested a suspect in two fatal highway shootings early Friday morning, according to the Associated Press.

James D. Willie, 28, will be charged with two counts of capital murder, a police spokesman told the AP. Willie was arrested on charges of kidnapping, aggravated assault and rape.

Police arrested Willie when responding to a disturbance at an apartment building where a woman claimed Willie had raped her.

When he was arrested, police confescated a gun that Willie had on his person. The gun was then linked to the shootings.

Willie was not posing as a police officer as previously thought and is being held on $250,000 bond.

Tom Schlender, 74, and Lori Carswell, 48 were shot to death by the same gun as they were sitting on the side of the road. Investigators said earlier Thursday they had made a ballistics match in the killings, indicating they were shot by the same gun.

The wallet of the first victim, containing hundreds of dollars in cash, was stolen in the crime. But it appears nothing was missing from Carswell's vehicle, calling into the question the possibility of robbery as the motive.

The murders occurred 55 miles apart from each other and police have said there are no indications that the victims knew each other.

Schlender was killed May 8 on I-55, which connects Mississippi to Tennessee. Just days later, Carswell was found dead outside her car on state Highway 713, approximately 30 miles from the Arkansas border.

During the search for Willie, Mississippi police recommended that if drivers are being pulled over by police, turn on the hazard lights and pull over in a well lit, populated area. Motorists can call 911 to make sure the stop is being made by a bona fide police officer.

Police there have suspended the use of unmarked police cars.

Copyright 2012 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.