Woman arrested for 81-year-old man’s 2017 murder

Woman arrested for 81-year-old man’s 2017 murder

TIPTON COUNTY, TN (WMC) - A Saltillo, Mississippi woman was arrested for the homicide of an 81-year-old man in July 2017.

Tipton County Sheriff's Office said 33-year-old Amber Whitehead was arrested Wednesday near Tupelo and was housed in the Lee County Jail overnight.

Deputies said Joseph Roman, 81, was murdered inside his Tipton County home before it was set on fire.

Firefighters found Roman's body inside the home. Autopsy results revealed Roman was killed before the fire started.

Bruce Sword called 911 hoping to save his friend from his burning home not knowing he was already dead.

"I thought he was in there because his van was here and his truck. I thought he was home," he said.

Investigators said two confidential informants told them the plan was to rob Roman, who they thought had $50,000 in his home.

They said they never found the $50,000 and don't know if Roman, who raised chickens and sold the eggs in his retirement, ever had that kind of money in his house.

According to an affidavit, Whitehead was in the house when Roman was killed and, according to the informants, she helped set the fire.

Tipton County Chief Shannon Beasley said another crime happened a couple of hours before the murder that appears to be connected.

A 16-year-old boy was driving a truck near Roman's house and someone shot him in the head, causing him to crash into a tree.

Tipton County detectives went to Colorado where the teen is from to retrieve the bullet after it was removed from his head. Investigators said they won't quit until the crime is solved.

"Mr. Roman himself is the victim. Mr. Roman's family deserves every bit of our attention," Beasley said.

Whitehead was brought back to Tipton County on Thursday after she waived extradition in Mississippi.

"It's a start to a little bit of closure for the family. It has been a long process," Beasley said.

Whitehead is being held without bond for first-degree murder and failure to appear on driving on a revoked/suspended license.

She is due in court Tuesday, May 22.

Tipton County investigators said they are looking at other persons of interest, and they would not reveal if Whitehead has confessed.

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