Saturday, December 9, 2023

Bond Denied, Motive is Robbery, Says Chief Investigator of McClendon Killing

Zacharias McClendon

In an interview with Friday morning, the chief investigator of Zacharias McClendon’s murder said that bond was denied for three suspects charged with Capital Murder in the case.

Chief Investigator Alan Wilburn added that the motive for the shooting was robbery. Wilburn would not discuss if drugs played any role in the case.

In Mississippi, Wilburn explained, a killing in the course of an attempted robbery is considered Capital Murder and all three suspects may be considered equally at fault legally, despite the identity of the actual shooter.

Derick Boone
Derick Boone
Joseph Lyons
Joseph Lyons
Steven Wilbanks
Steven Wilbanks

On Dec. 18, 2013, the Lafayette County Sheriff’s Department responded to a welfare concern at 20B CR 140, Lafayette County, Miss. At this location, the body of 25-year old Zacharias McClendon of Gulfport, Miss., was found with a single gunshot wound. Investigator Wilburn would not disclose where the victim was shot in consideration of McClendon’s family.

Steven Matthew Wilbanks, 22, of North Carolina; Derick Boone, 23, of  Laurel, Miss.; and Joseph Lyons, 20, of Houston, Texas, are being held in the Lafayette County Detention Center in Oxford.

According to Lafayette County Sheriff’s Department Chief Investigator Alan Wilburn, the three have been denied bond and will remain incarcerated as the sitting Lafayette County Grand Jury meets in January to consider evidence brought by Wilburn.

The three suspects are all Ole Miss students. Lyons recently dropped out of school, but the other two are still enrolled.

Lyons’ father, Dr. Horace Lyons, has apologized to the McClendon family. He is a former criminal justice professor.

McClendon was currently enrolled as a graduate student at the University. If the Grand Jury decides adequate evidence exists, the case will be sent to the circuit court for a criminal trial that may be months away.

Grand Juries in Lafayette County meet four-five times a year according to Wilburn. As to the timing of an eventual criminal jury trial, Wilburn said, “Capital murder cases can take a long time to begin.”