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Charges in case likely to be upgraded to murder
From Staff Reports
Charges against a Knobtown man who is accused of intentionally running over a police officer on Thursday are likely to be upgraded to include murder after authorities discovered the body of his missing grandfather early Friday.
The body of 77-year-old Levonce Leverette, was discovered early Friday on family property off MLK Drive in Knobtown. Greene County Coroner Ladd Pulliam confirmed Mr. Leverette’s identity after notifying next of kin. Pulliam said the official cause of death is pending an autopsy planned for Monday, but that authorities believe foul play was involved and are handling the situation as a homicide investigation.
Leverette’s grandson, Jaylen Leverette, 26, was in the George-Greene Regional Jail when the body was found. He had been taken into custody Thursday afternoon and charged with attempted murder of a Greene County Deputy during a high-speed pursuit in the Knobtown – State Line area. According to reports, Leverette is accused of intentionally maneuvering the vehicle he was driving off the roadway to strike the deputy, who had deployed a spike-strip across MLK Drive in an attempt disable the vehicle.
The officer, who has been identified as Deputy Raleigh Dueitt, sustained life-threatening injuries when struck by Leverette’s vehicle. He was evacuated from the scene by air ambulance to University of South Alabama Hospital where he underwent surgery overnight. Reports early Friday indicate Dueitt remains in critical condition in the Intensive Care Unit at the hospital in Mobile. While he expected to make a recovery, his injuries are extensive.
As for Leverette, a statement from the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation (MBI), said he was apprehended after being forced off the roadway by other officers involved in the pursuit. The MBI statement says Leverette lost control of the vehicle and came to a stop on the roadside. Shots were fired by officers at the scene as Leverette reportedly excited the vehicle with a firearm. Leverette, who was not hit in the exchange, fled into an adjacent wooded area on foot, surrendered to police shortly afterward.
The incident began with officers making a wellness check at the elder Leverette’s residence on K-Town Road after receiving a call from a concerned family member. When officers arrived, Jaylen Leverette reportedly exited the residence, jumped into a vehicle and sped off. A pursuit ensued that went from the residence, down K-Town Road to Hwy. 42, into the Town of State Line and back to MLK Drive. The chase ended at the intersection of MLK Drive and Walley-Haley Loop.
During that pursuit, Leverette reportedly attempted to run over another officer who had stopped in the roadway in front of the pursuit. That officer reportedly discharged his firearm at the vehicle as it swerved toward him.
MBI is in charge of the investigation moving forward. Officials were still processing evidence at multiple locations Friday morning.