Marion County cold case raises more questions - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Marion County cold case raises more questions


A Marion County man's indictment is getting more convoluted as his family's history comes to light.

It's a cold case mystery that seems to have one link in common with a previous Marion County crime; it all trails back to one family. Nearly two decades have passed since Kimberly Rowell was found naked - dead from nine gun shot wounds on Columbia Primary School's playground with a neatly folded pile of clothes beside her. 

Her alleged killers, Howard Polk Jr., who is dead, and James Polk Jr., better known as "Duke," have been indicted by the Attorney General's office on capital murder charges.  Though Polk is behind bars, his family's history continues to unfold.

Duke's cousin, Clyde Polk, says it's all part of an elaborate cover up by Marion County Police that's trying to tie up loose ends.  Clyde said, "It's like everyone that had anything to do with it has come up missing." 

Duke's uncle, Howard Polk Sr., shot and killed two Columbia police officers in 1989 near the courthouse. Howard was later shot to death by his own son, and James Polk's cousin, Howard Jr., otherwise known as "Peanut." Peanut was not charged, but nearly 22 years later had a similar incident with Marion County law enforcement. In 2011, after a high speed police chase, Peanut was shot to death by Sheriff deputies. Two of the deputies were placed on administrative leave.  According to the Polk family, all fingers point to a crooked police department trying to protect their own.

"I'm to the point that I don't even walk out to my car without a gun because I'm scared one of them's going to shoot me," said Clyde. He claims his cousin had nothing to gain by murdering Kimberly - the woman he was having an affair with.

"Why would he want to kill her?" he asked. "I don't want to kill anyone I had an affair with; not even my ex-wife, and she gets gobs of money off of me," commented Clyde. The story isn't finished yet. Attorney General, Jim Hood, said "other aspects of this case are still under review." In the meantime, the Polk family will continue waiting for the onion to peel back...layer by layer.   

*A special thanks to the "Columbia Progress" for allowing Seven on your Side to view their archives.  Seven on your Side attempted to reach out to Marion County Law Enforcement, but due to restrictions by the Attorney General's office authorities weren't able to comment.

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