By Josh Mitchell
Corinth Today News Editor
A case involving the fatal shooting of an off-duty Mississippi Highway Patrol trooper more than five months ago will be presented to a Tippah County Grand Jury next month, according to the district attorney.
Tippah County District Attorney Ben Creekmore said the suspect, Troy Anthony Eaton of Rienzi, remains charged with capital murder in the shooting death of off-duty state trooper Josh Smith of Alcorn County in Big Hatchie Bottom on Sept. 30.
Eaton is also charged with attempted murder in the shooting of Ricky Dale Vick of Michigan City.
The Tippah County Grand Jury meets April 3 and will decide whether or not to indict Eaton. Just because Eaton is currently charged with capital murder and attempted murder does not mean the grand jury could not indict him on different charges. It is up to the grand jury to decide which charges may or may not be appropriate.
The charging affidavit against Eaton alleges that he killed Smith knowing that Smith was acting in an official capacity as a state trooper. The affidavit was signed by Mississippi Bureau of Investigation Agent Paul Moore.
But Eaton’s attorneys have said there are a “multitude of witnesses” who support the claim that Eaton was exercising his legal right to self defense when Smith was killed.
It appears Eaton was sitting inside a vehicle on the passenger side when he allegedly shot and killed Smith, according to Tippah County Coroner Chris McCallister. It appears Smith was standing outside the vehicle when he was shot once in the head/face area, McCallister has said.
Authorities responded to the shooting in Big Hatchie Bottom near the Alcorn County/Tippah County line at around 12:45 a.m. Sept. 30.
Witnesses said Smith was armed with a firearm when he was fatally shot, according to one of Eaton’s attorneys, Jamie Franks of Tupelo.