More witnesses come forward claiming JSU murder suspect is innocent

Published: Nov. 1, 2023 at 6:31 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - WLBT continues the coverage of the Jackson State University murder investigation.

Monday, 3 On Your Side was the first to show you a video of what is believed to be the suspect in the Hattiesburg, Mississippi, area around the time of the shooting.

Now, more witnesses are coming forward who claim they were either with shooting suspect Joshua Brown before, during, or after it took place.

Those witnesses include Makaila Smith, Cedric Watts, and Cedric Beavers.

Of the three, Smith, who is Brown’s girlfriend, is the only one who has apparently been contacted by investigators with JSU Police.

She says that happened Tuesday, more than two weeks after the killing took place.

“He asked for my name, and he just told me to give him a timeline of when everything happened. It was no longer than 10 minutes. Not even,” she said.

When asked whether she thinks that’s sufficient for a murder investigation, she responded:

“Considering he’s the prime suspect, no,” Smith said. “I feel like I should have been the first thing they called, but it’s been two weeks and he’s still sitting in there.”

Smith says she tried to give the investigator evidence of her boyfriend’s location on the night of the killing, but he told her he didn’t want to see it.

She also says she was with Brown from the time they woke up for morning church service until about 8 p.m. the night of October 15.

That’s around the time Brown allegedly connected with his friend, Cedric Watts.

“He had texted me at 7:26 p.m. and said he was on his way from Columbia. We have text messages that I can show to prove it,” Watts said.

Watts claims he was with Brown from around 8:30 p.m. that night until about 10:00 p.m. During that time, surveillance video appears to show Watts and the 19-year-old inside a truck outside Pitt Road Grocery, a few miles north of Hattiesburg, and later the Krispy Kreme in Hattiesburg.

If that’s true, they would have been far from campus during the time of the shooting which took place around 9:30 p.m.

About an hour later, Brown’s roommate and Ole Miss football commit Cedric Beavers says the alleged murder suspect was back on Jones College’s campus.

“It was around 10:30. I saw him pulling up. I helped him get his groceries and stuff out of the truck and after that, we played a game,” Beavers said.

It’s unclear if JSU investigators know any of the information 3 On Your Side has reported so far because Watts and Beavers claim authorities haven’t reached out to them, and authorities won’t answer WLBT’s questions either.

Officials with JSU have not said a word since Monday when the chief released a three-sentence statement.

Tuesday, officials ignored our request for comment, and Wednesday, WLBT’s request was denied. 3 On Your Side even tried to speak to the chief in person, but was ultimately turned away.

Meanwhile, the other suspect charged in connection to the murder will soon appear in court again.

Jamison Kelly, Jr. is expected to have a preliminary hearing on November 13.

The former Jones College football standout is charged with accessory after the fact to the murder.

Kelly is accused of being the getaway driver after the shooting.

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