Court docs: Conspiracy suspect offered $5K for killing of Oktibbeha man


According to court documents obtained by the Starkville Daily News through a public records request, 27-year-old Henry Lee Neal, Jr. made the offer to an unnamed person to kill 33-year-old Joseph Turnipseed, Jr.

By: 
RYAN PHILLIPS
SDN Editor

A Starkville man charged with conspiracy to commit murder in the shooting death of an Oktibbeha County man last Friday is accused of offering someone else $5,000 to assist in the shooting

According to court documents obtained by the Starkville Daily News through a public records request, 27-year-old Henry Lee Neal, Jr. made the offer to an unnamed person to kill 33-year-old Joseph Turnipseed, Jr., a resident of the Blackjack community. 

On Friday, Turnipseed was found dead of an apparent gunshot wound in a vehicle at West Main Arms apartments at the intersection of West Main Street and South Long Street. 

No other arrests have been made as of Monday, but police say the shooting remains under active investigation. 

A motive remains unclear in the shooting and it is also uncertain how Neal knew Turnipseed. 

If found guilty of conspiracy to commit murder, Neal could face fines up to $500,000 and up to 20 years in prison. 

When Starkville police officers arrived at the apartment complex sometime after 10 p.m. Friday, they found Turnipseed dead in the driver's seat of a vehicle. No one else was injured in the shooting. 

Turnipseed’s body was sent to Jackson for an autopsy. It's unclear how many times Turnipseed was shot. 

While Neal’s role and motivation in the shooting are still being investigated, court records shed light on his criminal past. 

As recently as Jan. 10, Neal was indicted by an Oktibbeha County grand jury for three counts of selling cocaine, all charges he pleaded not guilty to on Monday, Feb 4 — less than a week before the shooting that left Turnipseed dead. 

He was out on $10,000 bond for the cocaine charges at the time of the shooting. 

Neal also has a violent felony conviction going back to 2010, when he was indicted for two counts of armed robbery after brandishing a firearm at a local Sprint Mart and taking cash from the convenience store with two attendees present. 

On the armed robbery case, one count was retired after Neal pleaded guilty to a single count of armed robbery. 

Circuit Judge Lee Coleman sentenced him to 14 years in prison, with 10 suspended and four to serve, with five years post-release supervision on the single count of armed robbery.

Court records show Neal was released from prison in February 2015. 

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