SEVERE WX: Dense Fog Advisory View Alerts
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

UPDATE: Family speaks out after Labor Day murder arrest

Starkville police have charged 51-year-old Michael DeVaughn of Rienzi with capital murder and sexual battery.

Posted: Oct. 7, 2018 6:33 PM
Updated: Oct. 10, 2018 9:10 AM

Update 10/08/18 12:16 a.m.

For almost three decades, two families have been looking for answers. As to who killed Betty Jones and raped Katherine Crigler.


Bill Lott of Starkville PD cracks case.

On Monday, a suspect appeared before a judge.

"I was absolutely floored and just stunned," shared Jason B. Jones, the step-grandson of Betty Jones. "This has been a taboo story in my life since I was 10."

Jason B. Jones is speaking on answers he has been looking for much of his life. The death of his relative Betty Jones.

Betty Jones died after being stabbed on Labor Day in 1990. Her friend Kathryn Crigler later died after being raped in her own home.

"My parents didn't want to talk about it because there was very little to tell," Jones told WTVA.

He started the podcast, "Knock, Knock" with the help of his brother, in hopes of finding out more.

Jones shared that his family was thrilled and relieved to hear suspect 51-year-old Michael Devaughn was arrested in the nearly three decades long case.

"Zero credit goes to our podcast for the apprehension of this suspect. One hundred percent of the credit goes to the Starkville Police Department."

His step-grandmother was stabbed in the neck and killed after answering her friend Katherine Crigler's door, according to original police reports.

Crigler was left with several broken bones but she did manage to dial 911. She died months later from her injuries and deep depression.

A sexual assault kit has now led authorities to Devaughn, through DNA phenotyping. Authorities say the suspect was a match to a semen based DNA profile. With a genetic genealogy from Parabon Nanolabs and the suspect's cigarette butt matching scene evidence, Devaughn was taken into custody.  

For former Starkville officer John Young, it's a welcome advancement to a lengthy case.

"I happened to know both of them at the time, and my mind often reflects back to that day they were murdered," said Young.

When Jones was asked his thoughts on the suspect now, he said he felt a sense of closure.

"I'm sorry his life led him to feel like he had to make those types of choices. We always thought of this guy as being a monster," Jones shared. "He was the bogeyman, personified."

Authorities say if convicted of capital murder, suspect Michael Devaughn will face death or life in prison. If convicted of sexual battery, he could face up to 30 years in prison.

Correction: Former Starkville police officer was titled as John Smith. His name is John Young.

Update 10/08/18 11:48 a.m.

Starkville police have charged 51-year-old Michael Devaughn of Rienzi with capital murder and sexual battery.

His total bond was set at $11 million. 

He was arrested in late-June in Tishomingo County on a meth possession arrest.

See the original post below.

STARKVILLE, Miss. (WTVA) - One man was taken into custody Saturday reportedly in connection with a nearly three decades old murder investigation.

The Starkville Police Department arrested Michael Devaughn on capital murder and sexual battery charges as the suspect.

PREVIOUS VIDEO: Labor Day murder unsolved in Starkville 

In the case, authorities investigated the death of Betty Jones and the assault of Kathryn Crigler on Labor Day in 1990.

On September 3, 1990, a man entered the home of Kathryn Crigler, Starkville police report. Her friend, Betty Jones, was at Crigler's house.

Jones opened the home door after hearing a knock. That's when a man entered and attacked her. She was killed. 

Crigler, who was in a separate room at the time, was raped and assaulted. She was able to dial 911 but died from her injuries and deep depression months later.

Article Comments

Tupelo
Overcast
50° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 50°
Columbus
Overcast
46° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 46°
Oxford
Overcast
46° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 44°
Starkville
Overcast
52° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 52°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather