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INCIDENT / ARREST REPORT
Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department
711 Jackson Avenue
Oxford, MS 38655
___ Senior Citizen
___ Child Abuse
___ Involved Alcohol
REPORTING OFFICER'S NARRATIVE (Brief narrative of the facts surrounding the offense and the arrest.)
At 6:07 p.m., Dispatch received a 911 call reporting a potentially dead body at 903 Muirfield Drive, the address of the business establishment known as Under Glass. The caller identified himself as Kenny Ross.
Unit #213 (Officer Megan Arborogh) was immediately dispatched and arrived at the scene at 6:15 p.m. Emergency Medical Technicians Bill Harcourt and Ned Keller arrived concurrently with R/O Arborogh. Upon confirmation from EMTs Harcourt and Keller that the victim was deceased, R/O contacted Dispatch to request backup and a homicide investigation team. At R/O's request, Unit #222 (Officer Scott Vittel) was dispatched to provide backup and assistance. Officer Vittel arrived at the scene at 6:27 p.m.
Reporting Investigators (R/Is) Detectives Jo Allyn Magee and Paul Beckwith were assigned and proceeded directly to the scene. At R/Is' request, Coroner's Inspector L. Johnson and a CSU team were notified to respond to the scene. R/Is arrived at the scene at 6:33 p.m.
Upon arrival, R/Is found that R/Os had secured the area. Environmental conditions at the scene upon arrival are as follows: Weather: Raining; Ambient Exterior Temperature: 64º F / 18º C; Relative Exterior Humidity: 87%; Ambient Interior Temperature: 68º F / 20º C; Relative Interior Humidity: 58%.
R/O Arborogh made the following verbal report, which is stated in summary and not verbatim.
R/O said that, upon arrival, she was met curbside by an adult male who identified himself as Kenny Ross (Person 2), the 911 caller. EMTs Harcourt and Keller arrived immediately thereafter.
Ross told R/O that he had found his employer, Hoyt Biffle, dead in the control shed of the Under Glass residence. R/O, along with EMTs Harcourt and Keller, followed Ross to the backyard of the Under Glass residence to an unadorned shed measuring approximately 12 feet x 12 feet.
R/O noted that the control shed's only door was ajar. R/O looked into the shed from the open door and saw a motionless adult male, later identified as Hoyt Biffle, the proprietor of Under Glass, in a high-backed desk chair that faced an array of video screens and equipment. No other persons were present inside the shed.
R/O said the man was seated in the chair, lying limp on his right side, head, and arm draped over the chair's right arm. The body had a neck wound that had bled out onto his chest, lap, and down his right arm into a small pool on the floor.
R/O said EMTs Keller and Harcourt entered the shed to assess the man's condition. EMT Keller attempted to get the man's pulse manually and was unable to do so. As a secondary measure, EMT Harcourt attempted to get a pulse by cardiac monitor, which was also unsuccessful. The EMTs then exited the shed.
After getting Ross's preliminary statement, R/O secured the witness in her patrol vehicle and secured the scene with assistance from Officer Vittel.
R/O further stated that, to the best of her knowledge, the following persons had occasion to enter the crime scene area and must be documented by CSU personnel: witness Kenny Ross, EMTs Harcourt and Keller, Officer Vittel, and herself.
After receiving the report from R/O Arborough, R/I Magee asked R/O to look after the witness Ross until R/Is could speak to him.
R/Is then conducted a preliminary inspection of the scene. R/Is observed no signs of forced entry on the door or door frame of the shed where the body was found. The shed had a concrete floor, and its single point of entry opened to the north on the side, away from the Under Glass residence. R/Is observed no signs of a struggle.
R/Is observed an adult male approximately 35-40 years of age seated in a high-backed chair with no wheels, facing away from the door and toward a bank of monitors and production equipment on the south wall of the shed. Visual inspection indicated the man was wearing a gray long-sleeved shirt, black pants, black socks, and black shoes. The victim's body was positioned consistently with R/O Arborogh's prior description.
R/Is observed a laceration on the victim's neck, which had bled onto the right side of his chest, his right pant leg crotch area, and the edge of the chair seat. Blood from the chair seat had absorbed into his pants where the right side of his buttock met the chair. Blood had also trailed down his right arm and hand into a small, unsmeared blood pool measuring roughly two inches in diameter. The source of the laceration was not immediately located.
R/Is also observed a pair of wireless headphones resting on the floor, approximately ten inches away from the victim's dangling right hand. The headphones were smeared with a reddish-brown substance.
Coroner's Inspector Johnson arrived at approximately 6:56 p.m. and joined R/Is at the body's location. CSU Evidence Specialists Isabel Juzan and Jim McManus arrived at 7:05 p.m.
Inspector Johnson pronounced the victim deceased at 7:11 p.m. by visual observation that the victim was not breathing and by tactile observation that the victim did not have a palpable carotid pulse. Inspector Johnson noted that the body appeared to be in the early stages of rigor mortis. While she withheld an official estimate pending an autopsy, Inspector Johnson speculated the victim had been dead for approximately three to four hours.
Inspector Johnson visually examined the wound, which spanned the anterior neck muscles, but could not say whether that injury was the cause of death based on a superficial external examination at the scene.
After Inspector Johnson completed her initial inspection of the body, she stayed with the CSU team to ensure the integrity of the body while the team took photographs of the scene and performed preliminary analyses until the body could be removed from the scene without destroying other evidence.
As the CSU team continued to work at the scene, R/Is escorted Kenny Ross to the Under Glass house for an interview.
The body of the deceased was remanded into the custody of Coroner's Inspector Luwinda Johnson. It was removed from the scene at 7:55 p.m. and transported to the coroner's office for autopsy.
After the body had been removed, R/Is asked Ross to walk through how he discovered the victim's body (see Ross interview transcript). R/O Arborough then secured Ross in her patrol vehicle while R/Is interviewed current residents of the Under Glass house.
When the preliminary interviews were complete, R/Is asked the occupants of the Under Glass house to leave the residence until the search and scene processing are concluded.
A preliminary search of the immediate area surrounding the shed for evidence of the perpetrator of the crime met with negative results and was hampered by the rain. The CSU team extended their search to the grounds of the Under Glass property. At 8:39 p.m., Evidence Specialist Juzan located a homemade garrote in a copse of trees between the control shed and Park View Lane, which is adjacent to the property.
R/Is left the scene at 11:05 p.m. Before leaving, R/I Beckwith instructed CSU to seal the scene upon completion or end-of-day suspension of processing. CSU is to notify R/Is of progress by the end of this date. As of this filing, CSU is still actively processing at the scene.
Evidence was remanded into the custody of Evidence Specialist Isabel Juzan for transport to the state crime lab for routine analysis. CSU is expected to submit an inventory of items taken into evidence within fourteen days of this report, with detailed report(s) of their findings to follow at a later date.
|REPORTING OFFICER||Paul Beckwith||DATE REPORTED||10/18/2023|
|REPORTING OFFICER|| //Paul Beckwith
|ASSISTING OFFICER|| //Jo Allyn Magee