UPDATE: Darian Pierce & Ricky Wedgeworth Both Plead Guilty To Kidnapping & Murder Of David Cupps~ Both Sentenced To Life In Prison

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Normal UPDATE: Darian Pierce & Ricky Wedgeworth Both Plead Guilty To Kidnapping & Murder Of David Cupps~ Both Sentenced To Life In Prison

Post by Praying For Faith on Fri Mar 11, 2011 11:00 am

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Body of Sunbury man found in Alabama

Friday, March 11, 2011  02:52 AM
By Jeb Phillips
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

(There is a picture of David Cupps and a picture of both of the suspects on the above link.  Sunbury, Ohio is North and a little East of Columbus, Ohio, FYI.)

A central Ohio man who disappeared while on a business trip in the South has been found dead in Alabama.

The body of David M. Cupps, 53, of Sunbury, was discovered in the Birmingham suburb of Bessemer, said John Mehr, special agent in charge of the western district of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

The Birmingham News newspaper reported that a man's body was found outside of a motel on Wednesday and that authorities began working to identify it. Mehr said yesterday afternoon that the dead man was Cupps, but he would not say how he had died.

Mehr said earlier that authorities thought Cupps crossed paths with two Louisiana prison escapees.

Cupps was last heard from when he talked with his wife by phone on Monday afternoon from Vicksburg, Miss. He was a safety inspector for a company that designs and digs wells and had made the Mississippi trip several times on a project, said Heather Ross, 31, his stepdaughter.

Cupps said he was on his way to his motel during the Monday call. But he never registered at the motel and didn't return home on a scheduled flight to Columbus on Tuesday afternoon, his family said.

The Louisiana fugitives - Ricky Wedgeworth and Darian "Drake" Pierce - were discovered driving Cupps' rental vehicle when they were pulled over by a Tennessee Highway Patrol trooper on Tuesday night in Jackson, Tenn. The SUV had been reported missing after Cupps failed to return it to the rental-car company.

Wedgeworth and Pierce jumped from the SUV and escaped from the trooper on foot. Wedgeworth, 36, was serving time for armed robbery, and Pierce, 33, was in prison for attempted murder.

Authorities continue to search for the two in the Jackson area, Mehr said. It appears to be the most-recent stop for Wedgeworth and Pierce after they traveled from Louisiana to Mississippi to Alabama, he said.

Ross said that authorities flew her mother, Della Marie Cupps, to Tennessee yesterday. The family learned that Cupps had been identified just before authorities announced it.

Cupps had three other daughters and eight grandchildren, Ross said. Another grandchild is due next month, she said.

He liked to camp and take his grandchildren fishing and loved to sing karaoke, she said. He would not have put up a fight if he came across the two Louisiana fugitives.

"If they had just asked for the car, he would have given it to them," she said.

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Normal Manhunt Continues For Pair Alleged In Businessman's Slaying

Post by Praying For Faith on Fri Mar 11, 2011 11:06 am

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Manhunt Continues For Pair Alleged In Businessman's Slaying

Friday, March 11, 2011 8:07 AM
WBNS-10TV

SUNBURY, Ohio — The body of a Sunbury businessman who was carjacked earlier this week was positively identified on Thursday.

David Cupps' body was found in Bessemer, Ala., 10TV News reported.

"We were hoping to find (Cupps) alive and well," said John Mehr of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. "His safety was most important to us."

SLIDESHOW: Surveillance Photos Of Suspects

Cupps' body was discovered at a hotel just outside of Birmingham, special agents said.

Cupps was in Mississippi for work on Monday but never checked into his hotel and never boarded his scheduled flight to return to Columbus, 10TV's Ashleigh Barry reported.

Investigators did not discuss the circumstances surrounding Cupps' death but warned the public that two Louisiana convicts carjacked him in Mississippi, drove him to Alabama in a rented SUV and then traveled to Tennessee.

(Read the rest of the article on the above posted link.)

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Normal Re: UPDATE: Darian Pierce & Ricky Wedgeworth Both Plead Guilty To Kidnapping & Murder Of David Cupps~ Both Sentenced To Life In Prison

Post by raine1953 on Fri Mar 11, 2011 3:11 pm


David M. Cupps, 53, of Sunbury, was in Mississippi on a business trip when he disappeared on Monday.
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Normal Re: UPDATE: Darian Pierce & Ricky Wedgeworth Both Plead Guilty To Kidnapping & Murder Of David Cupps~ Both Sentenced To Life In Prison

Post by raine1953 on Fri Mar 11, 2011 3:13 pm


LOUISIANA STATE POLICE
Ricky Wedgeworth

LOUISIANA STATE POLICE
Darian Pierce
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Normal Re: UPDATE: Darian Pierce & Ricky Wedgeworth Both Plead Guilty To Kidnapping & Murder Of David Cupps~ Both Sentenced To Life In Prison

Post by Praying For Faith on Fri Mar 11, 2011 10:39 pm

:thanks: Raine for posting the pictures. you rock

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Normal Fugitive caught in Memphis being returned to Louisiana

Post by raine1953 on Wed May 22, 2013 8:22 pm

March 17, 2011
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Court documents show one of two fugitives captured in Memphis is being returned to Louisiana to face a charge of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.
Ricky Wedgeworth was arrested Monday, his 10th day on the run from authorities. Officials say he and Darian Pierce escaped a police barracks in Baton Rouge, La. on March 4.
A federal magistrate judge issued an order Tuesday moving Wedgeworth back to Louisiana to face the escape charge.
Wedgeworth was serving time in Louisiana for armed robbery and Pierce for attempted second-degree murder.
The two men were caught after police chased them from Olive Branch, Miss. into Memphis. Authorities say they also carjacked and killed an Ohio man, whose body was found at a hotel in Bessemer, Ala.
Pierce has a court hearing Friday in Memphis.

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Normal 2 La. fugitives caught in Memphis briefly in court Read more: Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal - 2 La fugitives caught in Memphis briefly in court

Post by raine1953 on Wed May 22, 2013 8:24 pm

2 years ago
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Two fugitives from Louisiana who were captured in Memphis after evading authorities for 10 days have made a brief court appearance.

The men, 33-year-old Darian "Drake" Pierce and 36-year-old Ricky Wedgeworth, are being held in Memphis on a federal escape charge. They also face charges in at least three other states.

Both made initial appearances in federal court Tuesday. They were arrested Monday after crashing their getaway vehicle in a busy southeast Memphis intersection and running away.

Police said they had stolen a government truck in Jackson, Tenn., on Monday and fled that West Tennessee city. They were later spotted by police in Olive Branch, Miss., and were pursued into the Memphis area.

Officials say the men carjacked and killed an Ohio businessman while they were on the run.
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Normal Trial date set for Pierce and Wedgeworth

Post by raine1953 on Wed May 22, 2013 8:27 pm

Posted: Oct 20, 2011 5:01 PM PDT
Updated: Oct 26, 2011 2:09 AM PD
T

Darian Pierce and Ricky Wedgeworth
JACKSON, MS (WAFB) -
A trial date has been set for two men accused of killing an Ohio businessman in Mississippi after escaping from a work release site in Louisiana.

A preliminary trial date has been set for Aug. 6, 2012.

Darian "Drake" Pierce and Ricky Wedgeworth pled not guilty last week to federal charges of kidnapping and murder.

The men are accused of killing David Cupps after they escaped from a Louisiana State Police compound in March of this year.

Both men could face the death penalty.
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Darian Pierce and Ricky Wedgeworth
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Normal Inmates to plead guilty to abduction, murder of Ohio businessman in Mississippi

Post by raine1953 on Wed May 22, 2013 8:45 pm

JACKSON, Mississippi -- Two inmates who escaped from custody in Louisiana plan to plead guilty in a case that includes charges of abducting and killing an Ohio businessman in Mississippi, a court filing said.
Authorities say Darian "Drake" Pierce and Ricky Wedgeworth escaped from the Louisiana State Police compound in Baton Rouge on March 4, 2011, and kidnapped David Cupps from a hotel in Vicksburg, Miss.

Cupps' beaten and strangled body was found in Bessemer, Ala.

Read AL.com's coverage of the case here.

Pierce and Wedgeworth were caught on March 14, 2011, after crashing a truck in Memphis, Tenn. Police say they had tied up a county worker and stolen a truck in Madison County, Tenn.

The inmates are charged with kidnapping resulting in death, carjacking, conspiracy and transporting stolen vehicles. The court filing Monday in U.S. District Court in Jackson, Miss., did not say to which charges they would plead guilty.

The change of plea hearing is scheduled to take place in Jackson on Monday, the same day the men's trial was to begin. They had previously pleaded not guilty.

Wedgeworth's lawyer had no comment when contacted Tuesday.

Pierce's attorney did not immediately respond to a message.

Recent court filings said Pierce acknowledged participating in the crimes during conversations with a nurse and later with investigators from the FBI and Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

Pierce was hospitalized as a precaution after fighting with the officers who arrested him and told the nurse that he and Wedgeworth "escaped from prison and killed a man while taking his car," prosecutors said in a court filing last week.

"He said they dumped the victim's body in Alabama and that he did not mean to kill the man," the filing said.

Cupps, a 53-year-old man from Sunbury, Ohio, was attacked for his rental car, authorities say. He was in Mississippi to inspect the Grand Gulf nuclear power plant south of Vicksburg.

The inmates had been working as groundskeepers at the Louisiana State Police compound when authorities said they stole a van and drove off.

Both men were serving long prison sentences at the time. Wedgeworth was serving time for armed robbery and was set to be released in 2023. Pierce was locked up for attempted second-degree murder and was scheduled for release in 2024.

The Louisiana Department of Public Safety has said it was using about 160 inmate workers, known as trusties, for various jobs at the State Police compound when Wedgeworth and Pierce escaped.

Authorities have said Wedgeworth is from Memphis, Tenn. Pierce is from of Bogalusa, La.
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Darian "Drake" Pierce (left) and Ricky Wedgeworth
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Normal Prison Escapees Plead Guilty to Kidnapping

Post by raine1953 on Wed May 22, 2013 8:55 pm

Friday, February 15, 2013

Darian “Drake” Pierce, 35, of Bogalusa, Louisiana, and Ricky L. Wedgeworth, 38, of Memphis, Tennessee, have pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of kidnapping. The announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Gregory K. Davis and Daniel McMullen, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

On March 4, 2011, Pierce and Wedgeworth escaped from the Louisiana State Police Headquarters compound where they were both serving 25-year sentences. They traveled to the Fairfield Inn in Vicksburg, Mississippi, where, on March 7, they assaulted, carjacked, and kidnapped the victim, David Cupps, a businessman from Sunbury Ohio. The victim died as a result of the assault by Wedgeworth and Pierce. His body was found on March 8 in a field in Bessemer, Alabama.

The two escapees, still driving the victim’s rental car, were stopped by a Tennessee state trooper on March 8. During the encounter, Wedgeworth claimed to be the victim before fleeing the scene with Pierce. A high-speed chase ensued near Waverly, Tennessee, before the two men abandoned the vehicle and ran into the woods. When the vehicle was recovered, the victim’s blood and DNA were found in the vehicle.

On March 14, the escapees ambushed an employee at an equestrian park in Madison County, Tennessee, and fled in a county-owned Ford Ranger. The truck, driven by Wedgeworth, was seen later that day along Highway 78 near Olive Branch, Mississippi. Deputies from the Desoto County Sheriff’s Department and officers from the Olive Branch Police Department were dispatched to assist with the traffic stop. Deputies activated blue lights, but Wedgeworth failed to stop. A pursuit ensued towards Memphis, Tennessee. Deputies continued pursuing the vehicle until assistance was rendered by the Memphis Police Department, Shelby County Sherriff’s Office, and United States Marshal Service. The vehicle was later immobilized after it was struck by a police vehicle.

While Wedgeworth remained inside of the vehicle, Pierce fled on foot carrying a pipe wrench. He ran into a nearby wooded area and fought with officers prior to being taken into custody.

Wedgeworth and Pierce will be sentenced on May 30, 2013. They each face a maximum penalty of life in prison.
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Normal La. inmates face life in 2011 kidnapping death

Post by raine1953 on Sat May 25, 2013 4:24 pm

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Two Louisiana inmates face life sentences next week in the kidnapping death of an Ohio businessman abducted from a hotel in Mississippi during a 2011 crime spree.
Darian Pierce and Ricky Wedgeworth were inmate workers, or trusties, with jobs as groundskeepers at the Louisiana State Police compound in Baton Rouge when they stole a van and drove away March 4, 2011, authorities say.
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Normal Darian Pierce & Ricky Wedgeworth Sentenced To Life For The 2011 Kidnapping & Murder Of Businessman David Cupps

Post by NiteSpinR on Wed Sep 04, 2013 9:33 pm

05/30/2013

Two Louisiana inmates were sentenced to life in prison on Thursday in the kidnapping death of an Ohio businessman abducted from a hotel in Mississippi during a 2011 crime spree.


Darian Pierce and Ricky Wedgeworth both apologized to the family of David Cupps during the sentencing hearings in U.S. District Court in Jackson, Miss., as some of the victim's relatives wiped away tears.



Authorities say the inmates worked as groundskeepers at the Louisiana State Police compound in Baton Rouge, La., when they stole a van and drove away on March 4, 2011.



Cupps, a 53-year-old from Sunbury, Ohio, disappeared a few days later from a hotel in Vicksburg, Miss., where he was staying while in town to inspect the Grand Gulf nuclear plant.

His body was found in a field near a hotel in Bessemer, Ala. He had been beaten and strangled.



At the time of the escape, Wedgeworth was in prison for armed robbery and was set to be released in 2023. Pierce was locked up for attempted second-degree murder and was scheduled for release in 2024.



Wedgeworth was sentenced first on the kidnapping charge and several members of Cupps family spoke to the court or provided letters to be read during the hearing.



David Cupps relatives said he has had five grandchildren born since his death and that those kids were robbed of their chance to know him.

"They will never get to experience his love," David Cupps' sister-in-law, Diane Cupps, told the court. Cupps also had several other grandchildren who were born before his death.

Cupps was described as a loving father, grandfather, sibling and uncle. He liked working on cars, and Diane Cupps said she even misses "the click of his cowboy boots in the shop."

Cupps' daughter, Valerie Click, said in a letter read in court that she is married to a soldier and agonizes every time he goes out of town because she is haunted by the way her father was killed while away on a business trip.

She recalled going into a car parts store to buy brakes a few days after Cupps' death. Her father had been planning to change her brakes for her. When the clerk asked what kind of brakes she needed, Click instinctively called her father to ask him, then broke into tears at the realization that he couldn't answer.

She said the inmates imposed a life sentenced on her family and her 5-year-old son still asks about his grandfather.

"When I found out my Dad had been killed, it was like being stabbed in the heart," the letter said.



Wedgeworth, 38, who has a teardrop tattoo near his right eye, said he accepted responsibility and wanted a life sentence.

"I've been in prison a very long time and it's hardened my heart. I was raised with a good heart," Wedgeworth said.

Wedgeworth, who paused to take deep breaths and used the occasional expletive, told Cupps' family that a death sentence would have been preferable to life in prison, "if that helps you."



Prosecutors decided not to seek the death penalty in the case.

Pierce, 35, who has the name "Drake" tattooed on the back of his neck and wore a short goatee, said a prayer and expressed hope that the family can forgive him someday.

"I just hope God blesses y'all's lives and gives y'all comfort," Pierce said.

He also said that he realizes the biggest question the family has is "why."

"The truth is, selfishness is the reason why. I was worried about what I wanted. I didn't care about anyone else," Pierce said.



Authorities said Cupps was abducted for his rental car, a red Buick Enclave. After dumping his body, the inmates drove to Georgia and then to Tennessee.

A Tennessee officer pulled the Buick over on March 8, 2011, but the inmates ran. They tied up a Madison County, Tenn., parks worker a few days later and stole a truck with markings for the county's parks department, authorities say.

Police in Olive Branch, Miss., spotted the men March 14, 2011, and pursued them back into Tennessee, where the inmates were arrested after wrecking in Memphis.



Authorities have said Wedgeworth is from Memphis, Tenn. Pierce is from Bogalusa, La.



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