EDITORIAL/Execution by freezing to death
Wednesday, February 12, 2014 12:00 AM
The circumstances surrounding the death of a Philadelphia man who fled Leake County deputies Jan. 29 in a remote area near Four Corners on one of the most bitterly cold nights ever are disturbing.
After the Philadelphia Police became involved Feb. 1 at the urging of his family, the man's body was spotted from the air Friday in a slough not far from where he'd fled deputies nine days earlier.
Authorities are awaiting autopsy results to determine the cause of death of the man, Cortez Aliandiae Coburn, 28, of 28 Central Ave. His body was found about a quarter mile off Mars Hills Road.
We can surmise Coburn froze to death in the bitter cold.
Coburn was parked on Mars Hill Road at Eagle Park in a gold Chevrolet Caprice the night of Jan. 29 when he told authorities he ran out of gas. The low that night was 9 degrees.
A Leake deputy reportedly smelled an odor of burnt marijuana coming from inside the vehicle and began questioning Coburn. There was a can of beer in the vehicle and an unloaded pistol with no magazine in the glove compartment.
A deputy patted down Coburn for weapons and found a marijuana grinder in the right rear pocket of his coveralls.
The deputy also found a partial marijuana cigarette in the driver floorboard of the vehicle. A .25-caliber pistol was also found.
Conducting a routine records check, the deputies learned of outstanding misdemeanor warrants.
When the deputies confronted Coburn about the warrants, that's when he fled into the woods.
Two deputies gave chase to Coburn unsuccessfully, an incident report said. After the brief chase, one circled back to the patrol vehicles and called for a wrecker to tow Coburn's vehicle. That's all. No call to Coburn's family or Neshoba authorities.
Affidavits were filed against Coburn charging him with resisting arrest, possession of beer and possession of paraphernalia, but who in Leake County raised a hand to find him that bitterly cold night?
Philadelphia and Neshoba authorities then spent days tracking leads.
If Coburn's family and friends had known he was in the woods that night, it's likely they would have gone searching.
Coburn ran, but how humane is it to leave a man in the woods when it's 9 degrees? These tragic circumstances demand a full accounting.