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Wife of Suspect in Off-Duty Trooper Death Speaks Out

The Alcorn County residence of the suspect, Troy Anthony Eaton. (Photo by Josh Mitchell/Corinth Today)

By Josh Mitchell

Corinth Today News Editor

The wife of the suspect in the shooting death of an off-duty Mississippi Highway Patrolman said Tuesday afternoon that her husband is a good person.

“Anthony is a very good man,” said Lori Eaton, wife of suspect Troy Anthony Eaton.

“This is a very bad situation,” said Lori as she stood outside her residence with other family members.

Lori Eaton urged people to pray for all of the families involved. She said her “heart goes out” to the family of Josh Smith, the off-duty MHP trooper who died after he suffered a single gunshot wound in Hatchie Bottom.

She declined further comment.

The statement from Lori Eaton is the first comment a family member on either side of the tragedy has made to Corinth Today.

Authorities found Smith deceased at about 12:45 a.m. Sunday. Another person had also been shot, but his injuries were non life-threatening.

The circumstances surrounding the situation remain unclear as state officials investigate the case.

Smith was killed in an area known by locals as Big Hatchie Bottom near Tippah County Road 202 and close to the Alcorn County line. His life ended about halfway up a steep gravel road near the Waldon Bridge, which crosses a swampy area in Hatchie Bottom. Flowers with ribbons bearing his name now mark the spot next to a pine tree where he passed away.

For years, people have been drawn to Hatchie Bottom, especially on weekends, to mud ride, socialize and possibly drink, according to locals.

Eaton has been charged with capital murder and attempted murder and was ordered held without bond.

Smith, an Alcorn County resident, served on the highway patrol since 2007 and was well-known in the region as a likable person and respected trooper who wanted to help people. He was a husband and father and also enjoyed working on vehicles, according to others who knew him.

Eaton grew up around County Road 518 in Alcorn County. Some neighbors of Eaton said he was a hard worker who did roofing projects and various other carpentry work with his dad. Some people in the area have known him since he was a boy and never knew him to be violent.

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