Teens charged in hit and run and church burglary

(WMC-TV) – North Mississippi investigators say not only is a teenage driver responsible for a deadly hit and run in Panola County, Miss., but he could also be tied to an unholy crime moments earlier.

"They ran over him and left him like just road kill and kept going," Patricia Jones, the victim's sister, said. "I'm puzzled. How could they?"

Matthew Whitten Darby, a 17 year old from Senatobia, has been charged with first degree murder in the hit and run death of John Butts around 6:30 or 7 Sunday morning.

"Every morning he would walk because he was trying to lose some weight," relative Charles Herod said.

Butt's body was found a short distance from his home on Highway 310 in Como.

An 18 year old and a 15 year old were passengers in the car when it allegedly hit Butts and dragged him more than 70 feet.

Investigators say there was another crime at a nearby church before the hit and run.

The church is just down the road from scene of the hit and run. The car's 15 year old passenger has been charged with burglarizing and vandalizing the church.

At this point, no one else has been charged with the break-in.

Officials from the Panola County Sheriff's Department say the car Darby was driving had a broken headlight and the damage could have been caused by the impact with Butts.

John Butts relatives say he taught Sunday school and had gone for his daily walk Sunday morning when the crash occurred.

"It's horrible. It's horrible," said neighbor Latonya Eason. "I hate this happened. The least they could have did was stop. They didn't even bother to stopping. A lot of people loved him and he will be dearly, dearly missed."

Darby, who has been charged as an adult, is being held on $50,000 bond.

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