Vigil held for MS hit and run victim - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Vigil held for MS hit and run victim

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Family and friends of Johnny Lee Butts fought back tears as they honored his memory. Family and friends of Johnny Lee Butts fought back tears as they honored his memory.
Butts, 61, was killed after being ran over and dragged almost 70 feet along Highway 310. Butts, 61, was killed after being ran over and dragged almost 70 feet along Highway 310.
Matthew Darby, 17, is charged with Butts' murder. Matthew Darby, 17, is charged with Butts' murder.
COMO, MS -

(WMC-TV) – Family and friends of 61 year old Johnny Lee Butts fought back tears and emotions as they honored his memory.

"My dad was a good guy, a Christian guy," said Donny Butts, the victim's son.  "He minded his own business - he loved everybody."

Matthew Darby, 17, is charged with murder after being accused of running over Butts and dragging him almost 70 feet along Highway 310 near Como, Mississippi.  Darby and a 15-year-old in the car were charged with felony malicious mischief after police say they broke into a church just before the hit-and-run.  An 18-year-old, who was also in the car, does not face charges for either crime.

The group joined forces for a candlelight vigil that began at Butts' home, then proceeded to the site where he was killed.  There, the group lit candles and prayed before laying a wreath in Butt's memory.

"We haven't forgotten him and we love him" said Linda Jefferson, the victim's sister. 

While Investigators in Panola County are now ruling out race as a motive in this hit-and-run murder, some say the vigil is a call to denounce what looks to be a hate crime.

"It could've been my father that was going on a walk early one morning and is run over and left for dead.  Didn't ever call the police, hospital, just left a person to die" said Scott Colom, an attorney for the family.  

Family and friends say they not only want to remember the life of Butts, but they NOW want to bring healing and closure.

"I just want justice and I hope justice will be served" said Terry Butts, the victim's brother.

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