Mississippi prosecutors want the death penalty for a sex offender who is accused of killing 81-year-old Ethel Winstead Simpson, but Alabama authorities say they may try the suspect first on crimes here.
James Cobb Hutto III, 39, of Jasper, was arrested in Alabama allegedly while driving Simpson's car. Simpsonís body was found near Edwards, Mississippi on Sept. 17. She died of blunt force trauma.
Hutto was the last person seen with Simpson in Mississippi. They were spotted on camera at a Vicksburg casino days before she was found dead at a hog farm. Investigators believe Hutto befriended Simpson on the walking track at the Baptist Healthplex in Clinton. A few hours later, the two were seen driving away in Simpsonís car.
Hutto is wanted in Alabama on charges of murder, attempted murder and armed robbery.
In Mississippi, Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith says he will seek the death penalty. But Mississippi attorney generalís office spokeswoman Jan Schaefer told a newspaper that there is a possibility Hinds County might not be able to obtain custody of Hutto until after charges in two Alabama counties are prosecuted.
In Alabama, Hutto is charged in Lee County for the attack on Mark Ambers Cox, 56, of Opelika. And in Jefferson County, Hutto is accused of killing his 68-year-old great aunt, Virginia Rardon. A Lee County assistant district attorney said his office would more than likely defer to Mississippiís prosecution of Hutto in Simpsonís slaying.
Hutto already was wanted in Alabama because he has failed to register as a sex offender.
State corrections officials said Hutto was convicted in 2002 of sexually abusing a 17-year-old girl and sentenced to two concurrent 10-year terms. He served 3 1/2 years before his release in 2005.