Southaven Police Chief Macon Moore Friday said he believes the man accused of killing two Southaven Walmart store managers and the wounding of one of his officers could be back in Mississippi by early next week.
Martez Abram, age 39, appeared in a Shelby County, Tennessee court room Friday morning and waived extradition back to Mississippi. That followed the signing of a Governor's Warrant request by Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant and a follow up agreement signature on Wednesday by Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee.
Abram reportedly had been fighting extradition before the request and agreement by the governors. Abram was being treated at Regional One Health in Memphis for wounds he received as part of the July 30 incident.
Southaven Mayor Darren Musselwhite was straight forward in his response Friday to the news that Abram would soon be back in the county to face his accusers.
“It’s time for Mr. Abram to face the music for his cowardly actions," Musselwhite said. "We will never grow weary tracking down and driving the dagger of justice into those that commit heinous, senseless crimes in our city.”
Abram will now soon be returned to the DeSoto County Adult Detention Center in Hernando and await the filing of formal charges by a DeSoto County grand jury, an action that could take as long as a month.
"We're glad we're going to finally get him back to DeSoto County so the process can start," said Moore about the result of Friday's court appearance in Shelby County. "Our detectives have prepared a solid case and it's been turned over to (District Attorney) Mr. (John) Champion's office and he's ready to get started."
Abram was arrested after store managers Anthony Brown and Brandon Gales were shot dead inside the Southaven Walmart Supercenter the morning of July 30.
Abram reportedly showed a knife to a store employee a few days before the shooting as part of an in-store argument. That was followed by the store employee reporting the knife to a supervisor.
The incident resulted in Abram being suspended from work, but no criminal report was filed.
He is then alleged to have gone back to the store, shot Gales and Brown, and then wounded a Southaven Police officer who encountered him outside the Supercenter.
Police say the officer would have also died had he not been wearing a bullet-proof vest, with Moore adding that the wounded policeman continues to make improvement, but is not yet back on the job.
Another officer then responded by firing and wounding Abram, whose wounds took him to Regional One Health, where he has been treated since then.
Speaking with reporters Friday afternoon, Moore said the somewhat extensive time it has taken to get Abram back to DeSoto County was not entirely surprising to him.
"This is a typical process with extraditions if someone fights it," Moore said. "We extradite people just about daily from Shelby County. It's just a process."
Moore said his department's work is far from done in the case.
"I'm sure our detectives are contacting the District Attorney's office just about daily or several times a week," Moore said. "They're still working it. This is a huge case. They can work it all the way up to the day of trial, if they keep turning up things."
It is believed that Abram will be charged with two counts of murder, one count of attempted murder, and a arson charge, although Moore speculated that could be upgraded at the District's Attorney discretion, when he presents it to a grand jury.
Bob Bakken is Managing Editor of the DeSoto Times-Tribune.