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Teacher freed,charges dropped in shooting

By By Fredie Carmichael/The Meridian Star
Oct. 27, 2001
Manslaughter charges were dropped Friday against a Southeast Middle School teacher who had been arrested after a shooting death last weekend at a Lauderdale County sports bar.
Justice Court Judge William Gunn freed James Beavers, 38, 8206 Highway 18 East in Quitman, after a preliminary hearing Friday. Gunn heard testimony from investigators, Beavers' wife and the owner of the bar.
Beavers had been suspended without pay from the Lauderdale County School District. Beavers declined an interview when contacted Friday night.
Beavers originally was charged in the Oct. 20 shooting death of Tommy Johnson, 40, 4571 Chunky Duffee Road. Beavers was accused of shooting Johnson at about 10 p.m. during an argument at the Half Time Sports Bar on Highway 11/80 West.
Lauderdale County Sheriff Billy Sollie said deputies arrived at the scene and found 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.
On Friday, Sollie said that "Judge Gunn announced . . . that he was not binding Beavers over to the (Lauderdale County) Grand Jury, thus releasing him."
Funeral services for Johnson, an employee of the East Mississippi Electric Power Association, had been scheduled for Wednesday at Chunky Baptist Church.
Fredie Carmichael is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3228, or e-mail him at fcarmichael@themeridianstar.com.

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