- Search and Seizure Report
- Cooter's Farm
- STATE OF MISSISSIPPI
- Counties of Panola, Lafayette and Yoknapatawpha
- Your affiant, Detective Terrence Nelson,
Yoknapawtapha County Sheriff's Office, states as follows:
- 1. I, Detective Terrence Nelson, have been a
Detective with the Yoknapawtapha County Sheriff's Office
for 14 years. I have 10 years investigative experience
in the Crimes Against Persons Division including crime
scene analysis training and experience.
- 2. On July 18, 1997 your affiant and other agents of
the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Office and the Panola
County Sheriff's Office accompanied by a forensics team
from the Jackson State Crime Lab, began the execution of
a search warrant on the residence owned by Orville and
Beverly Cooter, located at 26160 Goodnight Road,
Batesville, in the County of Panola. The premises is a
red and white brick three story structure with doric
columns, locally known as the "Cooter Estate" or
"Cooter's Farm" also including outbuildings of a barn,
equipment shed and storage shed. The records of Panola
County indicate that this property was deeded to Orville
and Beverly Cooter in 1982.
- 3. When peace officers knocked at the door, Orville
Cooter was served with the search and seizure warrant and
was removed from the residence so that the search could
begin. Additional residents and guests on the premises
also removed at this time included Beverly Cooter, Blaine
Pitzer, Elizabeth Schott, Brett Hart and Joshua Niblett.
The items described herein constitute the results of this
- 4. I personally participated in the search. As set
forth in detail below, during the search I observed
evidence to indicate that the victim in the homicide
case, Ms. Ariadne P. Knight, had in fact maintained a
residence at this location, that there were on the
premises no indicators of prolonged captivity.
- 5. The search produced three legally registered
rifles in the house and one unregistered .38 caliber
handgun found in the storage shed to the rear of the barn
to the east, in a locked tool bin taken into custody.
- 6. I observed the paraphernalia and processing
materials along with dried marijuana in an amount to
constitute personal consumption use in the storage shed
to the rear of the barn on the east side of the property.
No prescription drugs were found on the premises, no other illegal
drugs were recovered in this search. There was no
evidence of marijuana growing activity on the property.
- 7. The equipment storage shed located to the
southeast of the main residence contained numerous hand
and power tools along with a complete workshop area.
These included mechanical drills, drill bits, hack saw
and blades, circular saw, rip saw and jigsaw, all of
which were examined by the forensic team and samples
taken including prints. Scraps of lumber and building
materials were taken for forensic examination, however,
no scraps of 3/4 plywood were found. No plans or
diagrams, blueprints or notes were identified related to
the construction of a ventilated burial box of the type
in homicide case # 1074589.
- 8. The upper area of the barn located to the rear of
the main residence to the east showed evidence of use as
party or band platform staging area. Numerous coolers,
cases of beer and wine and stacks of folding tables and
chairs were found. The loft area showed evidence of
cigarette and marijuana residue and debris which was
collected by forensics.
- 9. The lower area of the barn is the storage area
for the 1996 black 4 door sport pick up Ford model F-150
owned by Orville Cooter, used as a show vehicle. This
vehicle was clean and tarped. The forensics team
vacuumed and dusted the vehicle with little product
- 10. Other features of the property showed a bonfire
pit to the northeast of the house located halfway between
the house and barn. The pit was sifted and searched by
the forensics team for signs of destruction of evidence.
- 11. The focal point of the search was on the main
residence. There were no video recordings, audio
recordings, photographic evidence or answering machine
tapes related to our search found on the premises.
- 12. The second story front bedroom on the southwest
corner of the house is the room occupied by Ms. Knight
during her residence on the property. A thorough
forensics examination of the room was conducted producing
the following list of items taken to the Jackson lab for
testing: vacuuming of bed, floor, closet dry swabbing of
sills, knobs, dresser top, closet shelf three latent
lifts bedding one canvas 15 inch duffel containing a pad
of paper with notations and two pens
- Site testing on stains showed no blood traces.
- 13. The pad of paper recovered in the canvas duffel
is believed to contain notations made by the deceased,
Ariadne P. Knight, and consists of the following:
- "Send in leave of absence request, registrar's office
by March 31 ------have chem and stats makeup approved
-----have to be back April 7 or fail" with the word
- "Who is Teri's freak??? Can't they leave me
alone??????" with the word "alone" underlined.
- 14. Based upon my experience in the investigation of
Crimes Against Persons and violent crimes units I find no
indication that Ms. Knight was held in captivity on these
premises. I find evidence that she was in residence and
the notations on the notepad found in the room require
- S/A Terrence Nelson
- July 18, 1997