Apperson helped buddy roof house, Staats loved time with her daughter


Jeremy Apperson was the type of guy who would give the shirt off of his back, friends and co-workers said. He helped a buddy roof his house once at no charge. And the night before his murder, after his own long day on the road hauling gasoline, he went to help a co-worker hook up a trailer.

Jason Blair has known Apperson since 8th grade and didn't know where to start describing his friend and co-worker, one of two Neshoba countians who died in a convenience store armed robbery Aug. 25 allegedly committed by a man out of prison on early release for a 2010 attempted armed robbery in Jackson.

Megan Staats, a 27-year-old convenience store clerk, also died.

Apperson, his wife and son had stopped for gasoline and drinks at the CEFCO convenience store, 1534 Mississippi 16 west, while their girls were at a birthday party.

Their accused killer, Robert Leon Jackson, 30, of 224 Manship St., Jackson, was apprehended by police five minutes after the first 911 call as he fled on foot. He was arraigned on two counts of capital murder last week and denied bond.

District Attorney Steven Kilgore announced late last week Jackson was also charged with:

• Attempted murder of Linell Carter.

• Attempted murder of Lavon Hampton

• Armed robbery of Ryan Johnson.

• Armed robbery of Lee Anthony.

The Democrat reached out to one of the men who apparently exchanged fire with the suspect, but a reporter has been unable to connect. Members of the Staats family, when contacted through the funeral home, said they didn't feel like they could speak at this time.

Meanwhile, some of Apperson's friends and co-workers spoke of his kindnesses.

"There are so many positive things to say about him," Blair said. "In school he was a model student. Teachers loved him. He got good grades, everyone got along with him."

Blair said he has never met a more genuinely nice guy than Apperson. Apperson grew into adulthood he remained the same good guy in life.

"He was a very devoted employee, loyal to his friends and loyal to his employer," Blair said. "He lived out the motto to do whatever it takes."

Blair said that the 33-year-old gasoline tanker truck driver for Philadelphia-based Prince Oil Co., Inc., made a hobby of helping out others. Apperson would always come when called to aid a friend.

"You really find out who your friends are when you put a shingle roof on your house," Blair said. "I don't know if you have ever put a shingle roof on but it isn't fun, I'll probably never do it again. But he helped me put the roof up. He would even come by in the morning before work to help out on the roof."

Blair's brother Scott, who had known Apperson for around 18 years, described him as the type of guy who would give you the shirt off of his back.

"He was always there for you," Scott Blair said. "You could count on him if you needed him. He has helped me more times than I can tell you."

Friend and co-worker Brad Higginbotham said, "You couldn't ask for a better friend than Jeremy. He was a very hard worker, he always provided for his family and he was always there for his friends."

Higginbotham said the last time he saw Apperson was the night before his murder. Even though Apperson was at the end of the workday, he came by to help him hook up a trailer.

"He could have just gone home for the day, but he wanted to help out, that was the type of guy he was," he said.

Apperson was also a dedicated family man.

"I know he loved his wife and kids," Scott Blair said.

"Words can't described how much he loved her," Jason Blair said of Apperson's wife, Samantha. "She really meant the world to him."

Apperson also enjoyed old-school country music and 4-wheel drive trucks, according to his friends.

"It is pretty tough, I am still in shock," Jason Blair said.

"It really hit me yesterday (Monday) when I came to work and saw his truck there," Higginbotham said. "It is just a tragic loss."

Apperson's rig was parked at McClain-Hays funeral home during his funeral service on Thursday. Two other local drivers were in the procession to the cemetery.

Scott Blair said that the fact Apperson was taken from his wife and kids was just too hard to swallow.

"He has always been a good man and worked hard for his family," Scott Blair said. "He was a good friend and co-worker."

A native and lifelong resident of Neshoba County who was living in the Laurel Hill community, he was a Baptist by faith.

The Rev. Curt Pace officiated services Thursday. Interment followed in the Beatline Cemetery.

Survivors include wife, Samantha Apperson of Philadelphia; three children, Hunter, Hailey and Hannah; mother, Becky Cook of Philadelphia; a brother; William Anderson of Philadelphia; and several nieces and nephews.

Mr. Apperson was preceded in death by his father, Jerry Apperson; grandparents, W. D. and Ollie Mae Apperson, Bennie and Helen Pope, and Everette Yates.

A GoFundMe account has been set up for the Apperson family or checks can be marked for the Appersons and mailed directly to New Bethel Baptist Church, 11681 HWY 488, Philadelphia, MS 39350.

Megan Elizabeth Staats

Services for Staats were held Friday at John E. Stephens Chapel with the Revs. Dewayne Kelsey and John E. Stephens officiating. Interment was in Salem Cemetery.

Her hobbies included body art, eating and especially spending time with her daughter Sadie, according to her obituary. She was a member of Zion Chapel Pentecostal Church.

The Democrat reported last week how she'd accompanied an autistic friend to his senior prom at Neshoba Central recently.

Survivors include her daughter, Sadie Marie Mixon of Philadelphia; mother, Stacy Conn of Philadelphia; her father, Gary Staats of Philadelphia; a step-son, Campten Alexzander Moorehead; her fiance, Wesley Ramond Moorehead; grandmothers, Janice Dunn of Philadelphia and Suzanne Staats of Michigan; sister, Kyndall Elaine Staats of Philadelphia; brothers, Thomas John Staats (Devlyn) of Philadelphia, Eric Austin Staats of Philadelphia, Scott Beckham of Texas in addition to several aunts, uncles and cousins.

"I love u Megan never was it a dull moment at school cause we both had a loud mouth and also never a dull moment at huddle house rest on my friend," her friend Brian Moore posted on the funeral home's website.

She had posted on her own website on Aug. 1, "Not every white person is racist and not every black person is a criminal. Get to know people before you judge them just because they are a different color than you."

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