Mother of murdered truck driver speaks after person of interest is charged

Updated: Jan. 9, 2020 at 9:38 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Two Tennessee families are grieving after a young truck driver was murdered in his cab in Shelby County. The suspect’s father is the one who turned him in to the authorities, and that happened not long after the victim’s mother got the phone call every parent dreads receiving.

The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office says 30-year-old Dajuantae Stuart was found shot to death inside his semi on Interstate 269 near Macon Road Wednesday morning. SCSO released images of the suspect, captured on a camera inside Stuart’s truck. They showed a young man with distinctive tattoos, colorful clothing and a backpack.

James Huddleston, 27, from Millington was quickly turned in by his father. He’s now charged with first degree murder, aggravated robbery and theft of property.

Stuart’s mother, Connie Stuart-Knight, lives in Hermitage. She says her son loved driving from the time he could barely see above the steering wheel as a child. He’d been a trucker for four years and always checked in with her. When he went MIA, she called his company.

“They told me we’re gonna get back to you,” she said with tears in her eyes. “Somebody will get back to you. Shortly after that is when I got the call from a chaplain saying that she would be coming to my house. And so, I kind of figured it was not going to be a great visit.”

She described Dajuantae Stuart as caring and giving. She’s now planning his homegoing.

Investigators say the in-cab camera shows Huddleston talking with Stuart, getting into his truck, standing in front of him when a gunshot is heard, then dragging Stuart out of the bunk area and shooting him again.

Detectives recovered the gun from the truck. They say it matched the serial number on a gun box found inside Huddleston’s home, along with clothing they say matched what he was wearing in the video.

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