Clarke County's Unsolved Murders, Part 2

Series 2 of Clarke County’s unsolved murders this week will focus on the murders of David Wayne Hales in 2012 and Bruce O’Bryant Dear in 2016.

The Clarke County Tribune would like to remind everyone about these murders in hopes it may possibly shed new light on the cold cases. Any information you may have on these crimes, whether you think it may matter or not, could help bring these unsolved murder cases to an end. In some cases, alleged murderers were arrested but never convicted, resulting in the cases still being open.

These cases are all still active. If you have any information on these unsolved cases, please contact the Crime Stoppers hotline number at 1-855-485-8477. All calls are anonymous and may result in a reward.

David Wayne Hales

On January 5, 2012, David Wayne Hales was shot twice in his home on Decatur Street in Shubuta. Hales was transported to Jeff Anderson Regional Medical Center in Meridian by AirCare, where he remained in critical condition.

Hales’ home had been ransacked prior to the shooting, and investigators found two pounds of marijuana at the residence. Investigators concluded that the motive for the shooting was robbery.

Following the sound of shots being fired, three black men were seen fleeing the scene in a black Kia Sorento.

Authorities arrived on the scene before Hales was taken to the helicopter and were able to talk to him.

“My deputies and I responded to the scene, and I talked to David Wayne Hales and asked him who had shot him,” stated Sheriff Todd Kemp. “His statement was that it was a guy from Alabama and that he would handle it himself. He didn’t realize at that time that he would never have a chance to do that.”

On Monday, January 9, Hales succumbed to his injuries, and the charges for the shooting were upgraded to capital murder charges.

Unfortunately, although he knew who his attackers were, David Wayne Hales never revealed the identity of who shot him. Since then, authorities have worked diligently to follow any lead that they could to find the person responsible for his death.

“We’ve been all over the south United States chasing suspects,” said Kemp. “I sent investigators to Miami, Florida, with the possibility of some information pertaining to his case.”

At this time, no arrests have ever been made in this case.

Bruce O’Bryant Dear

In September of 2016, Quitman again faced a tragedy with the murder of Bruce O’Bryant Dear.

At 12:23 one Sunday morning, a call came to 911 from a residence on Hwy. 511. Officers arrived to the scene to find a vehicle on fire across from the apartment complex.

Authorities began asking witnesses questions and tried to find out as much information about what took place. The witnesses were able to help set the scene for what occurred before 911 was called.

“Mr. Dear was outside the vehicle when the suspects drove up. Once they started firing shots, he got into the vehicle and tried to leave the area,” stated Sheriff Todd Kemp. “Because of the high rate of acceleration, the vehicle drove into a clay embankment across from the complex, and because of the dry brush in the area, we believe that is what ignited the fire of the vehicle.”

Authorities attempted to rescue Dear, but they were unable to do so.

Investigators believed that the motive for the attack was robbery. There were multiple suspects in the case thanks to witness accounts. They also learned that there was a driver and a shooter who fled the scene in a dark blue or black Pontiac GT.

Within a week of Dear’s death, authorities made an arrest. Kaeshawn Turner, 25 at the time, from Wayne County was charged with first degree murder in the case. He was sent before Quitman Municipal Judge Potuk and given a bond of $50,000.

By October, the murder charges against Kaeshawn Turner were upgraded. Not only was he charged with first degree murder, but he was also charged with armed robbery with a bond of $75,000 and aggravated assault with a bond of $50,000. His first degree murder bond was also increased to $125,000 by Judge Potuk.

Although an arrest had been made at the time, the case has never gone to court. Since it has never reached court, the murder of Bruce O’Bryant Dear is still open and unsolved.

Dear’s family still grieves the loss of their loved one and would love for his case to be solved. Until then, they have turned their grief into positive things by establishing a scholarship fund in memory of Dear and hosting a Stop the Violence rally each year to bring awareness to the community.

Obituaries

Guilliam Rex Graham, 85, of Quitman, Mississippi, passed away on September 23, 2020, at Anderson's... READ MORE