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Mississippi Minister Walks Into Sheriff’s Office And Allegedly Confesses To 2019 Murder Of Missing Man
James Crisp, a former drug addict who recently confessed to murder, was allegedly part of the initial searches to find missing man Roger Lloyd Taylor, according to the victim's daughter.
A Mississippi minister seeking “spiritual freedom” has surrendered himself to authorities and confessed to killing a missing man, according to authorities.
James Eric Crisp, 37, was charged with manslaughter after authorities say he entered the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department in Aberdeen, Mississippi, on Aug. 30 and confessed to killing Roger Lloyd Taylor, according to the sheriff’s office. Authorities say Taylor, 48, disappeared from Sulligent, Alabama, about 30 miles east of Aberdeen, in March 2019 and hasn’t been heard from since.
Crisp told deputies he killed Taylor following a “physical altercation” and reportedly instructed authorities where they could find the missing man’s body on Blair Cemetery Road, about 10 miles west of where Taylor disappeared.
“Crisp stated that he had become a believer in Jesus Christ since this incident and was currently serving as a minister at a recovery facility when he began to come under heavy conviction about the incident,” the sheriff’s office stated.
Monroe County Sheriff Kevin Crook told CBS's Columbus, Mississippi, affiliate WCBI-TV that Crisp was sent to a Christian-based recovery center called “God’s House of Hope” following an arrest three years prior. Since then, the man reportedly turned his life around.
“By his own testimony, he got saved three years ago, was in a recovery center, we sent him there, he is now a teacher and preacher in that program,” said Crook, who also identifies as a Christian.
Crisp’s previous convictions include drug possession and trafficking, according to the Monroe Journal. Authorities said Crisp is now fully cooperating in the investigation, though Taylor’s body has yet to be found.
On March 10, 2019, Taylor was reportedly on his way to Monroe County to visit his daughters, according to NAMUS, who has Taylor listed as being missing from Vernon, Alabama, about 10 miles south of Sulligent. Taylor corresponded with one of his daughters via phone call and text at around 9:35 p.m., explaining he was lost and that his car was stuck.
That was Taylor’s last-known contact until his car was found two days later on Blair Cemetery Road, which according to NAMUS, is near his daughter’s home.
Family members spoke up about Taylor’s disappearance, detailing several ailments that limited his physical mobility, according to WCBI-TV, including a history of strokes and heart attacks.
Monroe County officials say it is in this area, near Gattman, where Crisp directed authorities to find Taylor’s body.
“He made the decision to risk his physical freedom in order to re-gain his spiritual freedom and hopefully help bring closure to this case for the sake of himself and the Taylor family,” the sheriff’s office continued.
Others, however, aren’t as convinced, including Taylor’s daughter, BreAnn, who told The Independent that Crisp helped in the initial searches for her father. She claimed she introduced her father to Crisp, who was a friend of her boyfriend, and treated him like a member of the family.
“He said, ‘Bre, I would never do something like that to you. Whoever did this, they deserved more than just prison,’” Taylor’s daughter told the outlet. “He said, ‘They deserve to die themselves.’ But now that he’s come (forward) with it, he wants to say, ‘I found Jesus, I am reformed.’”
BreAnn told the Independent that although Crisp confessed to Taylor’s murder, he seemed to have little remorse.
“He looked me in my eye and told me he killed my dad. He didn’t say he was sorry, he just said that he hoped one day I could find it in my heart to forgive him, but he never even [said] he was sorry,” said BreAnn. “He didn’t have any emotions. He was outside of the room, and he was laughing with the jailor and walked in and acted all stone-cold with me.”
Crisp’s bond was set at $150,000 bond during a hearing on Thursday, where several of his “God’s House of Hope” members stood in support of him, according to WCBI-TV. Attendees said it was Crisp’s duty to take accountability for his actions while also praying for mercy.
Sheriff Crook also told the outlet he hoped there could be healing for the Taylor family.
“We are glad for Mr. Crisp to get this off his chest so that he might be able to continue to do ministry wherever the Lord has planned for him, but this does not close the case for us,” said Sheriff Crook. “Investigators for the MCSO will look at this new evidence and determine if there should be any other charges or suspects.”
It is unclear when or if searches for Taylor’s body will resume. According to the Monroe Journal, Crisp reportedly believes law enforcement is searching in the correct area, though floodwaters have “shifted the landscape,” making a precise location harder to pinpoint.
The investigation is ongoing.