Sheriff: Murder of 82-year-old woman a ‘heinous crime’

Sheriff: Murder of 82-year-old woman a ‘heinous crime’

JONES COUNTY, Miss. (WDAM) - Jones County Sheriff Joe Berlin and District Attorney Tony Buckley held a news conference on Friday morning to give an update on the investigation into the murder of 82-year-old Betty Lou Dickerson.

Dickerson was found dead Monday afternoon inside her home on Shady Lane.

Berlin called the killing a “heinous crime.”

A manhunt for the suspect ended in Tennessee late Wednesday night. Berlin said Michael Shane Askew was captured by U.S. Marshals in Nashville. Berlin said surveillance video from a Jones County business helped identify Askew as the suspect in the murder.

According to Berlin, Askew knew Dickerson but there is no clear motive for the killing at this time.

“It saddens me to know that the person involved in this was not, I’m sorry, was a known offender that knew the victim. It was not just a person traveling through the area. A lot of people have thought that, you know, it was a homeless person just traveling through the area that committed this crime, and it wasn’t,” Berlin said. "My department is praying for the family, and we hope you get closure in this incident.”

Officials give update on Jones County murder investigation

Buckley said Askew waived extradition and will be transported back to Mississippi in the coming days.

“We are still investigating,” said Berlin. “We are now in the crucial part of the investigation. The district attorney is going to request no bond on this suspect due to the nature of the crime.”

According to Buckley, the investigation is ongoing, and evidence has been sent to the Mississippi state crime lab for examination. Buckley said while the case is currently being investigated as a homicide, charges could be upgraded to capital murder as more evidence comes to light.

“There’s a lot of work going on, and the decision right now is that he’s been charged with murder,” said Buckley. “As for an upgrade, we’ll make that decision after we’ve looked at the evidence, got results back and met with the family of the victim.”

Berlin said Askew does have a criminal past. In August 2016, Askew was arrested in Jasper County on drug charges. Days later, officials said Askew broke his leg during an attempted jail escape and had to have surgery to repair the damage.

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