The Jackson man indicted in the double-murder of two Neshoba residents at a convenience store in August of 2018 has been found competent to stand trial.

Neshoba County District Attorney Steven Kilgore said Jackson was found competent to stand trial Wednesday morning in Neshoba County Circuit Court.



The latest ruling means the trial for Jackson, who faces life in prison or even the death penalty, is likely to move forward later this year.

Jackson is due back in court Monday for another hearing.

Jackson, 30, was arrested in Philadelphia shortly after the August shootings and indicted in late December 2018 on two counts of capital murder, two counts of attempted murder, two counts of armed robbery and possession of a firearm by a felon.

Jackson pleaded not guilty on all of his charges on Feb. 25, and was originally set to stand trial on March 18. Judge Mark Duncan has since granted the defense two continuances — one on March 6 and another on July 18.

Jackson’s public defender, William LeBarre of Jackson, was also granted a request for Jackson’s medical records from Mississippi State Hospital.

Duncan has ordered a trial conference at the start of term for every court session to get a status update. The next one is set for Oct. 1.

“Right now, we are waiting on his medical records and for him to be evaluated by a psychologist,” Kilgore said. “That should help determine whether or not (Jackson) is mentally competent to stand trial. If they decide he is not, we will have a chance to have him examined by another psychologist.

“It’s just a long process that takes time, but that’s the nature of a capital murder case,” he continued. “That said, the case is moving forward at a deliberate pace.”

Jackson is being charged as a habitual offender based on his criminal past. He was sentenced to three years in prison for armed robbery in July 2004, seven years for stealing a car in July 2006 and 15 years for violent felony robbery in Oct. 2012. All of his previous offenses occurred in Hinds County.

He had been out of prison for seven months when the murders occurred on Aug. 25, 2018, as part of the Mississippi Department of Corrections’ Earned Release Supervision Program.

Police say Jackson shot and killed Megan Staats, 27, with a Taurus PT 738 handgun while robbing the CEFCO convenience store located at 153 Mississippi 16 West.

The indictment also charged Jackson with the murder of Jeremy Apperson, 33, who had stopped at the store to refuel his vehicle and pick up drinks for his wife and children.

A bystander shot the suspect, who fled the scene. Minutes later, Philadelphia Police apprehended Jackson, who they say had a gunshot wound matching the description witnesses had given investigators.

He was transported to University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson for treatment and taken into custody from there.

He was denied bond on Feb. 25 and has since been held at the Leake County Correctional Facility in Carthage.