Investigators rule Hatten's death a suicide


Stone County investigators have determined that former supervisor Duncan Hatten died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest.

Stone County Coroner Wayne Flurry faxed a statement to the media Friday evening that read:

"After consultation with the Stone County Sheriff's Department, the District Attorney's Office, the Harrison County Coroner's Office, and the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation, coupled with a complete review of the autopsy report filed by the forensic pathologist who performed the post-mortem examination of Duncan Ray Hatten, and together with all actual and photographic evidence collected at the scene by the Gulfport Police Department's Crime Scene Investigations Unit, which was thoroughly evaluated by senior analysts with the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation, the Stone County Coroner's Office has ruled Mr. Hatten's death at his home on April 29, 2008 a suicide, resulting from a self-inflicted shotgun wound to the chest."

Hatten's death came as a shock to many in Stone County. At his funeral, Chancery Court Clerk Gerald Bond remembered the longtime community leader as a man who always put others first.

"He always had the county in his heart. He put it first. He was very dedicated and sincere, and he worked real hard for the county. It's certainly going to be a great loss," Bond told WLOX News in April.

Authorities originally believed the shooting death was part of a home invasion. They quickly arrested a man who lived nearby, and charged him with capital murder. He was later released when investigators realized the forensic evidence did not support their case.