Son of Arkabutla shooting victim speaks after alleged gunman appears in court

Published: Feb. 23, 2023 at 9:38 PM CST
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ARKABUTLA, Miss. (WMC) - Mark Manuel sat in the courtroom in Tate County on Thursday morning, waiting for the man accused of killing his father to walk through the door.

51-year-old Richard Crum is the alleged gunman who authorities say killed six people in the small Tate County community of Arkabutla this past Friday.

In the courtroom, Manuel was reflecting on what the last week has been for his family.

“It’s been pretty tough,” he said.

Manuel’s father, Charles Manuel was one of Crum’s alleged victims, but Manuel also lost his uncle George McCain, his aunt Lynda McCain, and a close family friend John Rorie.

These were four people he knew and loved deeply.

When Crum walked through the door into the courtroom Thursday morning for his preliminary hearing, “You don’t know how to feel for something like that,” Manuel said.

Manuel was certainly not alone.

We were told family for all six victims were present for this hearing.

We were in the courtroom as well, though our cameras weren’t allowed.

The case has become so tense in recent days that armed security has been arranged for Judge Trey Manning and Crum’s defense attorney.

Both, we’re told, have received death threats leading up to Thursday’s hearing.

“(Tate County) Sheriff (Brad) Lance received some emails that were alarming,” said District Attorney Jay Hale.

Hale is prosecuting this case, and his lone witness in the hearing was Sheriff Lance, who identified Crum in the courtroom as the shooter.

“The burden of proof today was to show probable cause that a crime was committed and that Mr. Crum committed that crime,” said Hale.

Judge Manning agreed, and now the case is bound for the Tate County grand jury.

Right now, Crum is charged with one count of capital murder and one count of first-degree murder.

More charges could be in store for Crum, according to Hale.

“Sheriff Lance testified as to two of our three crime scenes,” said Hale. “We did not put any information out in regard to four of the victims. However, those charges will be pursued.”

Hale said his office is still waiting for the full investigative file to finish before looking to present the case before the grand jury.

Once that happens, we will know if/when the case will go to trial and what additional charges Crum may face.

“You see it all over the country,” the D.A. said. “You don’t expect it to happen in your backyard... Arkabutla is an extremely small community. It’s been rocked by these events, but we will continue to do our due diligence to make sure that this individual is brought to justice.”

Regardless of how long it takes, Manuel said he’ll be present in court every time Crum walks through the door.

“I will,” Manuel stated. “I’m sure all the other (family members) will too.”

A GoFundMe has been started for the Manuel family to pay for Charles’ funeral costs.

There are also two other GoFundMes for the family of Debra Crum and the family of Chris Boyce.

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