Felon was out on early release


A man with a string of felony burglary convictions arrested again last month for stealing two purses from a parked vehicle downtown is now wanted for violating terms of his early release, the Democrat has learned.

The man, Nicholas Catchings, 35, had been serving a 17-year prison sentence for auto burglary in Leake County and strong-armed robbery and auto burglary convictions in Neshoba County, but gained early release in March 2020.

Catchings, who has used Neshoba and Copiah county addresses, was arrested March 26 and charged in the March 13 auto burglary. He bonded out four days later. 

The Democrat discovered the warrant for violating the terms of early release on the Mississippi Department of Corrections website last week in researching Catchings’ criminal record.

Local law enforcement officials said they were unaware of the MDOC warrant.

Catchings has a decade-long history of being charged with crimes in Neshoba County, according to archived copies of the county jail docket published in the Democrat.

“There is a warrant out for his arrest because he has absconded supervision,” Chris Baker, spokesperson for the Mississippi Department of Corrections, told the Democrat last week.

Baker said this week the warrant for Catchings’ arrest on the absconding supervision charge was issued on Nov. 19, 2020.

Catchings, according to jail records, most recently posted a $10,000 bond and was released on March 30.

Prior to that, on Dec. 1, 2020, Catchings was arrested in Neshoba County and charged with three counts of grand larceny, including the theft a rifle from a Mississippi Bureau of Investigations agent’s vehicle during a November 2020 revival at The First Baptist Church.

Catchings was out on a $30,000 bond on the grand larceny charge when he allegedly stole the purses out of the vehicle on Center Avenue in March.

Baker said Catchings was on earned early release, which is available to inmates who have demonstrated good behavior in the system. Early release is separate from parole.

Habitual offender Robert Leon Jackson had been out of prison for seven months on the state’s early release program when he murdered clerk Megan Staats and customer Jeremy Apperson at the CEFCO convenience store on Highway 16 west in August 2018.

Catchings was released to his home county of Copiah where he failed to check in with his supervisor as stipulated in the terms of early release.

Catchings’ history of burglaries in Neshoba County goes back as far as 2010 when he was charged with burglary of a business. He was later charged in 2012 with strong-armed robbery for which he was later indicted as a habitual offender and was convicted.

Baker said authorities have been alerted to Catchings’ activity in Neshoba County.

“He will face the consequences of violating the early release system,” Baker said of when Catchings is apprehended on the MDOC warrant. “He will go back into custody.”

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