Donald "Dewey" Devoe was born on February 22, 1989. Ben and Ivy Devoe, both of modest means, often told relatives they had high hopes for their two sons. They dreamt Chris and Dewey would grow up to be doctors or lawyers, able to support them amply in old age. But Dewey's report cards show he never exhibited his older brother's ambition.
While Chris followed his parents' playbook — graduating with honors from Mississippi State and moving to Silicon Valley to seek his fortune — Dewey coasted through school, earning straight Cs. The more his parents harped, the more Dewey rebelled, becoming the mirror opposite of their vision for him. In high school, he began hanging out with the stoners and was suspended once for possession of alcohol on campus.
At the same time, Dewey was good-looking and affable, and friends said he had a knack for making almost anyone feel appreciated. He got by on his charm in the fast-food and restaurant jobs he worked after school and during the summers though he didn't hang on to any of them for long. After a couple of months, when the novelty wore off, he'd start complaining about the tedium and quit.
Dewey's temperament went over well with girls, and after graduation, he moved in with his high school girlfriend. But she soon tired of Dewey's laid-back attitude and turned up the heat, encouraging him to seek a better future for himself so they could get married. Instead, Dewey moved back home. He repeated the pattern until his parents told him to move out and stay out — even if that meant getting his own place rather than moving into someone else's.
Luckily, at the same time, one of his old high school buddies, then a college senior at Ole Miss, told Dewey the apartment complex where he lived was looking for a manager. The job suited Dewey — not only did he get a free place to live, but he could hang out with college kids without actually having to attend classes.
Residents remembered Dewey making friends in the complex and partying with them. Dewey was popular partly because of his hobby — marijuana grower. He had two plants for his own use, but it turned out to be more than he needed and selling it when he needed extra cash was easy money.
Unfortunately, a serious dispute between two student tenants in the complex disrupted Dewey's idyllic existence, and for once, he had to make a hard choice — evicting one of them. The evicted student trashed Dewey's apartment, and a complaint was lodged with complex's management company, which decided to move Dewey out.
The company found him a spot at another of their apartment complexes — The Turn, home to Kristi Waterson and Michelle Prescott, among other wealthy students.
After his dust-up at the old complex, Dewey maintained a lower profile with the tenants at The Turn. Residents generally reported they were pleased with Dewey, calling him a nice young man although they said he was slow to complete routine maintenance and respond to repair requests. A few claimed he sometimes helped divorcees with more than their groceries, but Dewey knew better — he did his socializing off-premises.