Law enforcement continues probe
by Chance Wright
Oct 25, 2012 | 7512 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Memorial Service
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Hundreds of mourners showed up at Bear Pen Park in Cleveland Wednesday evening and lit up the night sky with "floating" lanterns in memory of Cleveland resident Shelby Harmon.

Harmon, 20, died early Saturday morning on U.S. Highway 61 N. near the Bolivar-Washington County lines.

A pedestrian at the time of the accident, Harmon was struck by multiple vehicles, including a pickup truck driven by her boyfriend, Rodney Shelton Fulgham, 23, with addresses in both Cleveland and Shaw.

According to the Bolivar County Sheriff's Department's dispatch log, a call came into the department at approximately 6:10 Saturday morning by a woman traveling north on U.S. Highway 61, who said she had hit an object in the road and thought that it was a body. A frantic, 11-minute 911 call by Fulgham came into the department shortly after.

Assistant County Coroner Murry Roark pronounced Harmon dead on the scene.

Fulgham was taken into custody at the scene and transported to the Bolivar County Regional Correctional Facility for questioning. While there he was also questioned on a possible parole violation and later released.

Deputies from the Bolivar County Sheriff's Department, the Mississippi Highway Patrol and the Mississippi Bureau of Investigations worked together to process the scene and according to Warren Strain, media liaison for the MBI, evidence, including multiple vehicles, has been sent to state crime labs in Batesville and Jackson.

"Vehicles and blood samples have been collected and are in custody of the state crime labs in Batesville and Jackson awaiting results," said Strain. "This is normal procedure. It is not unusual for an investigation into a highway death to take time processing."

Not included in the evidence was Harmon's body since an autopsy was not requested and her remains were cremated on Monday.

It has been reported from other sources that Bolivar County Coroner Nate Brown said no autopsy was performed because a county sheriff's deputy did not request one.

However Bolivar County Sheriff Kelvin Williams Sr. said that was not the case.

"The scene of the accident and the ensuing investigation was immediately handed over to the Mississippi Highway Patrol and the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation because they are better equipped to handle highway investigations," he said. "All we did was contact the highway patrol and EMS and direct traffic away from the scene."

Chief Deputy Michael Lamb told The Bolivar Commercial the same thing on Saturday.

All attempts to contact Brown this morning were unsuccessful.

MBI investigators and Mississippi Highway Patrol accident reenactment specialists were on the scene again Wednesday continuing the investigation.

"The investigation continues at this time," said Sgt. Ben Williams, spokesperson for Troop D of the Mississippi Highway Patrol. "Investigators are working tirelessly to insure that a thorough investigation is done to determine exactly what happened and to insure proper charges are filled so that justice will prevail in this case."

"It is the policy of the MHP that we don't file charges until an investigation has concluded and all test results have returned," said Sgt. Mike Mullins, a trooper with the Mississippi Highway Patrol who was one of the first to arrive on the scene.

"While no charges have been filed at this time, I do expect that charges will follow at a later date when all the evidence has been evaluated," said Mullins.

Harmon's friends and family have set up a Facebook page, called "Justice for Shelby." It is on this site that Fulgham has been accused of domestic violence as well as other accusations of physical abuse against Harmon and others.

Supporters of the "Justice for Shelby" movement have also been camped out on the front sidewalk of the Cleveland Courthouse in protest for several days this week.

The Bolivar Commercial will continue coverage and report more information as it is made available.