Wednesday, September 12, 2012
By Jane Singletary
OXFORD – The Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department arrested an Ole Miss football player in connection with the death of 21-year-old student Courtney Morris.
Justin Landry, 22, of 234 Eagle Springs Road in Oxford, was taken into custody Tuesday morning and charged with first-degree murder. He is being held at the Yoknapatawpha County Jail, according to booking records.
A bond hearing is set for today.
Both Landry and Morris attended the University of Mississippi and had dated several months prior to her death. She was found hanged on Aug. 26 in her bedroom at Maplewood Apartments.
Landry was among the first named as a person of interest by detectives working the case.
"Mr. Landry provided our investigators with evidence during an interview this morning leading them to believe he committed the crime," said the department's spokeswoman, Elizabeth Jones, on Thursday.
Jones declined to provide additional details about the interview but said the department feels confident they have the right person in custody.
"All persons are innocent until proven guilty," she cautioned.
Also on Tuesday, the Yoknapatawpha County Corner's office released a preliminary autopsy report showing cause of death as "asphyxia due to ligature strangulation."
It's unclear when a full autopsy report will be made available.
In the meantime, Landry has been placed on suspension from the Ole Miss football team, said co-offensive coordinator Dave Wheeler.
"He's a good player and a good guy," Wheeler said of Landry, who played running back. "We are going to let the justice system handle things from this point on."
Teammates of Landry expressed shock on Thursday, saying he's not the type to commit murder.
"I can't believe that. No way," said Bo Brockman, a wide receiver. "They got the wrong guy is all I got to say."
A call placed to Landry's parents' house in Atlanta wasn't immediately returned.