Woman, boyfriend charged with murder in child’s death at Southaven motel

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SOUTHAVEN, Miss. -- Police have charged a mother and her boyfriend with capital murder in connection with the death of a 13-month-old boy at a Southaven motel.

Kentavia Chapman, who was 18 at the time, and Pierre Jarrell, 37, were charged and taken to the DeSoto County Jail on Tuesday.

On September 25, Southaven police began investigating the child's death at the Southern Inn & Suites on Hamilton Road as suspicious.

After an investigation, Chapman and Jarrell both were charged with felony child abuse. Jarrell was also charged with two counts of felony possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute. Police have not identified the drug.

Monday, police received the results of a toxicology test, and while they won't say if the child had drugs in his system, they felt they had enough evidence to charge the couple with capital murder on Tuesday.

"He was a sweet little child," said a woman who babysat for the child once. She's asked to remain anonymous.

“I’m still trying to process it," she said after learning that his mother has been charged in his death.

The woman said she got to know Jarrell and Chapman while working at a Southaven Waffle House. She said his behavior began to give her concerns.

“There was just something kind of off with him," she said. "Everybody there kind of was -- was very walking on eggshells around him. Didn’t know what to say."

WREG has learned that in 2000, when Jarrell was only 18, he was charged with murder in Louisiana. At the time, Baton Rouge police said he broke into a home and shot a man in the chest.

Late Tuesday, WREG was unable to confirm with authorities if Jarrell was ever convicted in that case, but his former acquaintance says he served time.

"I learned that it was actually for a murder charge later on down the road through his brother," she said.

Police have not said when they plan to release the results of the toxicology report.

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