Dewayne RichardsonMississippi Delta DA 4th District

Greenville, MS— Frederick Pearson, Jr., 24 yoa, of Indianola was sentenced to thirty years in following his guilty plea on Monday, District Attorney Dewayne Richardson announced today.

In June of 2019, officers of the Greenville Police Department responded to Sunflower Lane in reference to an unresponsive man lying on the side of the street. Upon their arrival, they discovered the body of Joe Sykes who had been shot multiple times. Detectives with the department’s Criminal Investigation Unit responded and began their investigation. No witnesses to the shooting were on scene.

Sykes was a stalwart of the Greenville community whom many knew from his work as security at a local restaurant where he would often end his day having collected substantial tips from the patrons he greeted and escorted to and from the eatery. When investigators arrived on scene, however, the victim’s property, including a firearm and over three-hundred dollars, were still in his possession—casting doubt on a theory of a robbery.

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office offered its assistance but the case eventually went cold. Later, investigators with the Sheriff’s Office began to receive credible tips on a possible suspect. They followed up with possible witnesses and compiled the information that they received, which included statements made by Pearson containing details of the shooting only known to law enforcement. They made the decision to confront Pearson with the information and he admitted to the shooting. He claimed Sykes approached him about walking in the area and, after the two argued, Sykes reached for his sidearm and he shot in fear, but his own version contradicted itself and was not credible.

Pearson appeared in the Circuit Court of Washington County on Monday and pled guilty to Second Degree Murder for the shooting. He was sentenced to the District Attorney’s recommendation of thirty (30) years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Kaylon McCou. He relayed the gratitude of the District Attorney’s Office for the unwavering commitment of the Greenville Police Department and Washington County Sheriff’s Office in seeing this investigation through to the end. “For victims of crime and their families, the criminal justice system does not move fast enough as it is, but the anguish is compounded when potential witnesses wait to speak up. Hopefully, this resolution provides the Sykes family some measure of closure and they can finally start their journey toward healing and peace” he added.

The District Attorney’s Office extends its thanks to the Sykes family for their patience as this case made its way through the process and for the courage of those who contacted law enforcement with information. When you see something, say something.