Saunders found guilty of murder

By Kevin Wheeler - bio | email | Twitter

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - A Forrest County jury found 44-year-old Eddie Saunders guilty of the 2008 murder of a Hattiesburg teenager Tuesday.

Saunders is convicted in the shooting death of 17-year-old Charles Moore. The trial was emotional for Daphne Moore, Charles's mother. 

"I'm so glad that justice was done and my baby can finally rest," said Moore. "He got killed for no reason."

Prosecutors told the jury the murder was over a stolen phone. Assistant District Attorney Ben Saucier said in his opening statement that the case started at the Handy pantry convenient store in Hattiesburg.  That is where Charles Harris, the nephew of Saunders, sat down his cell phone. He left the store without picking up his phone. Alex Anderson testified and confessed he took the phone.

"I let a lady walk past me first, and as soon as she walked past me I grabbed the phone," said Anderson.

Anderson also told Saunders his name was "Duke." Anderson said he told Saunders over the phone his nephew would have to pay $50 to get the phone back.

The victim's mother said this incident is what led to her son's death because his nickname was Duke. Charles Moore was not the one who stole the phone.

"He should be getting charged too," Moore said referring to Alex Anderson. "He started it all, he started it all, he's the reason my baby isn't here today, and I don't think it is right for him not to be charged."

Saunders and his nephew Charles Harris tried to meet Anderson, who had the cell phone, but he never showed. Harris testified the two had been heavily drinking, and Saunders became angry after Anderson never made the meetings.

The two found out who Duke was and went looking for him. Harris, Saunders, and Charles Moore ended up on Vickers Circle, where shots were fired.

Harris told the court he saw his uncle get out of the car and then heard shots, but never saw him fire a weapon. Harris then said Saunders got back in the car, pointed a gun at him and told him to drive.  Both men were later taken into custody.

District attorney Jon Mark Weathers said prosecutors had conclusive evidence.

"It was beyond reasonable doubt," said Weathers. "To me it passed that, and apparently the jury agreed."

Saunders was sentenced to life in prison without parole. Charles Harris is charged with accessory after the fact. He is awaiting trial.

©2009 WDAM. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.