UM Graduate Suspected of Killing Jay Lee in Oxford Appears in Court, Still No Details

Sheldon Timothy Herrington Jr., 22, was arraigned on first-degree charges for allegedly killing Jimmie “Jay” Lee on Wednesday, July 27, 2022. Here he exits the Lafayette County Courthouse after his 1:30 p.m. hearing. The judge rescheduled Herrington’s bond hearing was rescheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022, at 10 a.m. Photo by Grace Marion

OXFORD, Miss.—“I need you to speak up, Mr. Herrington,” Circuit Court Judge Gray Tollison said from his bench in the Lafayette County Courthouse on Wednesday, July 27, 2022, to a packed courtroom.

Sheldon Timothy Herrington Jr., 22, stood before Tollison for his arraignment hearing, charged with murder of missing 20-year-old University of Mississippi student Jimmie “Jay” Lee, although he is still missing.

Prosecutors charged Herrington, a UM graduate from Grenada, with the first-degree murder of Lee, which law enforcement officials believe happened within the city limits of Oxford, Tollison said.

Officials ushered Sheldon Timothy Herrington Jr., 22, past a crowd of protesters into a Lafayette County Sheriff Department vehicle as he left the Lafayette County Courthouse after his Wednesday, July 27, 2022, arraignment hearing. Prosecutors charged Herrington with first-degree murder of University of Mississippi student Jimmie “Jay” Lee. Photo by Grace Marion

The judge confirmed Herrington’s legal name and address in Hernando, Miss. as his residence.

“Do you have legal counsel, Mr. Herrington?” Tollison asked.

“Yes, sir,” Herrington said.

“And who is your attorney?”

“Mr. Horan, Attorney Horan.”

Defense attorney Kevin Horan confirmed that his law firm Horan & Horan is Herrington’s only representation, saying that attorney Brad Daigneault will continue to assist him in the case. Daigneault introduced himself for the court record, at Tollison’s request.

Tollison informed Herrington of his right to a preliminary hearing.

“Your Honor, I have an announcement to make,” Horan said, after an unsilenced cell phone in the audience interrupted the court. Horan is a current member of the Mississippi House of Representatives for District 34.

Horan asked to reschedule the bond hearing, saying his law firm was not served with the state’s motion to deny Herrington bond.

Assistant District Attorney Tiffany Kilpatrick responded, saying that the public defender who was handling Herrington’s case at the time of the filing was properly served.

Judge Tollison reviewed the record, noting that Daigneault had agreed to the 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 27, bond hearing on Monday, July 25 at the 9 a.m. hearing that was originally meant to be Herrington’s arraignment.

Tollison agreed to continue the bond hearing to another date within the next two weeks, with no objection from Kilpatrick. It is now scheduled for 10 a.m. on Aug. 9.

Evidence of Murder Still Unclear

It is still unclear what evidence led to Herrington’s Friday, July 22, arrest, but the affidavit read at the Wednesday, July 27, arraignment hearing specified that testimony from Oxford Police Department Det. Ryan Baker helped secure the warrant for Herrington’s arrest in Lafayette County Justice Court.

Herrington owns T and T moving company, and once spoke to a University of Mississippi student reporter about flipping houses. He graduated from the University of Mississippi in May.

Both Herrington and Lee were well-known in the University of Mississippi and Oxford communities. They belonged to some of the same campus organizations, Mississippi Today reported.

Protesters gathered outside Lafayette County Courthouse in preparation for the arraignment of Sheldon Timothy Herrington Jr., 22, on Wednesday, July 27, 2022. They held posters and chanted “stop killing us” as Herrington left the building. Photo by Grace Marion

Lee was heavily involved in Oxford’s LGBTQ+ community. Protesters gathered outside the courthouse in anticipation of his Wednesday, July 27, hearing, with their signs showing their concern about the possible connection between Lee’s disappearance and his LGBTQ+ status.

Officials are still working to locate Lee’s body. He is 5’7” and weighs 120 pounds, with black and blond hair.

Lee was last seen leaving his apartment at Campus Walk—a university-affiliated apartment complex—at 5:58 a.m. on Friday, July 8, in his gray slippers, silver robe and a gold bonnet.

Editor’s Note: Grace Marion attended the University of Mississippi alongside both Jimmie “Jay” Lee and Sheldon Timothy Herrington Jr.. She served on the 2022 Oxford Pride week planning committee and as the head editor at Missy: LGBTQ+ Literary Magazine of the University of Mississippi in the 2021-2022 school year. Marion photographed Lee at a Thursday, March 24, drag show, in addition to all other Code Pink performers that night. She graduated from the University of Mississippi in May 2022 in the same class as Herrington.

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