Former Tunica deputy charged with 1998 murder - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Former Tunica deputy charged with 1998 murder

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TUNICA COUNTY, MS -

(WMC-TV) - A former Tunica County Sheriff's deputy is charged with murder and accused of framing someone else for the crime.

Investigators say the charges solve a cold case from 14 years ago when James ‘Juman' Carter was killed.

"My brother deserves justice," said Carter's sister Mary Abby Carter.

She has been waiting for an answer for nearly 15 years.

"It just took everything from me," Carter continued. "I'm the one that found him."

On Wednesday, Carter learned the original investigator she talked to in 1998 is her brother's suspected killer.

"Former Chief Deputy Willie ‘Cat Daddy' Starks [formerly] of the Tunica County Sheriff's Office, he is being charged with obstruction of justice and the murder of James Juman Carter," said Tunica County Sheriff K.C. Hamp.

Hamp said new statements and an eyewitness shed new light on what happened early September 14, 1998.

"He [Starks] reported back to the crime scene, he was in charge of the case. there was a lot of framework that had taken place," Hamp continued. "But let me share this with you, all parties are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law."

According to Hamp, three suspects were charged but never indicted for the crime more than a decade ago.

Jimmy Bowman, of Tunica, is charged with accessory to the Carter's murder. Hamp said he was present during the crime, but declined to specify how he may have been involved.

"Mr. Bowman is a brother in law to former chief deputy Willie Starks," Hamp said.

Hamp said that Carter and members of Starks' family were involved in a love triangle and a fight broke out at the dice table where Carter worked at Club Sigg.

The club is no longer standing but was just a block away from Carter's mother's house. Carter was found shot in the head underneath a tree just across the street.

"I woke up and my husband said that there was someone outside laying down and when I walked out I remember what he had on before he left and I told them that was my brother," Mary Abby Carter recalled.

Starks is currently serving time in the federal department of corrections for extorting payoffs for drug dealers. After an FBI investigation, they said that Starks promoted the sale and use of crack cocaine in Tunica.

Hamp said Carter's case went cold weeks after the FBI investigation.

With Wednesday's arrests, the Tunica County Sheriff's Department has solved two cold cases in the last month. Hamp said they will continue to try to solve cold cases.

"We're looking at probably 6 more, so we will bring these folks to justice no doubt," Hamp said.

James Carter's family thanked the department for their dedication.

"I appreciate everything they did to bring justice and closure to my family and now my brother can rest in peace," Carter said.

Hamp said that the case is still open and that more charges are possible.

Starks remains in federal prison on the 30 year sentence. His new charges come with a $1,000,000 bond.

According to Hamp, Bowman was being held in the Tunica County Detention Center on a $1,000,000 bond.

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