Helena-West Helena suspect accused of killing man with hammer turns himself in

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HELENA-WEST HELENA, Ark. — WREG cameras were rolling as a suspect wanted in connection to a deadly home invasion in Helena-West Helena, Arkansas last year turned himself in to police on Tuesday, as state and city officials pushed an operation to find wanted suspects in and around the city.

“Today is a good day,” Helena-West Helena Police Chief James Patrick Smith said, saying authorities would bring law and order back to the Delta town. “For a long time, we were always known as the armpits of Arkansas, but today we’re gonna make it right.”

Melvin Jefferson III walked into the local police department and surrendered to authorities on capital murder charges. He is also charged with two counts of attempted murder, aggravated residential burglary and weapons charges.

According to police, officers responded to the 900 block of Memphis Street on Nov. 21 to find two shooting victims lying outside a duplex. Another man, Marvin Perry, was found inside and was pronounced dead on the scene.

A preliminary investigation led investigators to determine four suspects were seen fleeing the scene on foot after the shootings took place. They were identified as Hakeam ‘Kemo’ Williams, Cortez Banks, Tyrone Shepard and Jefferson. All four were charged with possession of a firearm, capital murder, attempted capital murder and engaging in criminal group activity.

“Mr. Melvin Jefferson III was the last piece of the puzzle,” Smith said.

WREG was there when Jefferson turned himself in. He told us he had no involvement in the murder and wants to clear his name.

“Let these folks now this ain’t me. Anybody who know me knows I say what I do and what I want. But I’ve never been in trouble like that before,” he said. “They listen to anybody on the street. So if they say you did it on the street, then they’re going to come get you.”

Jefferson had been able to evade police until he suddenly turned himself in on Tuesday, during the U.S. Marshals Service “Operation Press Your Luck.”

The operation is targeting fugitive gang members wanted on warrants for violent criminal offenses.

Forty-four wanted fugitives were taken into custody during the operation, said U.S. Attorney Cody Hiland.

Helena-West Helena has seen four homicides in the past two months, Hiland said.

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