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Teacher charged in shooting death at bar

By By Marianne Todd/The Meridian Star
Oct. 23, 2001
Bond has been set at $10,000 for a Southeast Middle School teacher charged with manslaughter in the Saturday shooting death of a power company employee at a Lauderdale County bar.
Lauderdale County Sheriff's investigators charged 38-year-old James Beavers of 8206 Highway 18 East, Quitman, on Monday after meeting with officials from the district attorney's office. Beavers has been suspended without pay from the Lauderdale County School District.
Beavers is accused of shooting Tommy Johnson, 40, of 4571 Chunky Duffee Road, during an argument at the Half Time Sports Bar on Highway 11/80 West. Johnson was an employee of the East Mississippi Electric Power Association.
The shooting occurred about 10 p.m. Sheriff Billy Sollie said deputies arrived to find patrons performing CPR on Johnson.
Sollie said the two men allegedly became involved in an argument after which Johnson was shot once in the chest with a .22 caliber semi-automatic handgun. The gun was recovered at the scene.
Johnson's funeral is set for Wednesday at 10 a.m. at Chunky Baptist Church.
In a second, unrelated shooting death, Meridian police said a Monroe, La., man accused in the weekend shooting death of an out-of-town visitor man is fighting extradition.
The shooting occurred Saturday on the side of the road on St. Paul Street near North Frontage Road.
Lt. Wade Johnson, a Meridian Police Department spokesman, said Monroe, La., law enforcement officials charged Dominique Jefferson, 26, with murder on Saturday.
The victim, Frederick O'Neal, 27, was apparently passing through town and is thought to be from Atlanta, Johnson said.
Johnson said police are not yet releasing information on the circumstances, if a motive has been established or if the defendant and the victim knew each other.
Marianne Todd is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call her at 693-1551, ext. 3236, or e-mail her at