Thomas Schlender family reacts to arrest

Thomas Schlender

By:  Ashley Harding
aharding@klkntv.com

The arrest of a Mississippi man comes just one day after the 74-year-old Schlender was laid to rest.

Mississippi authorities say 28-year–old James Willie is the man who pulled the trigger killing Thomas Schlender May 8, and a woman just days later.  Both had been driving on highways in Mississippi.

Authorities say Willie was arrested Tuesday for an attempted rape.  They say he had a gun which matched to the two highway killings.

Just one day after 74–year old Thomas Schlender was laid to rest, his family got the call they'd been praying for. It was from Pinola County, Mississippi.

 “And when I answered the phone, he simply said 'we got him',” said Matt Anderson, Schlender's Son-In-Law.

An arrest in the case.  Officials say Willie was taken into custody Tuesday morning after a woman said he raped her. They say he had a gun on him, and ballistics tests proved it was the same gun that killed Schlender, and 48–year old Lori Anne Carswell three days later. Both Schlender and Carswell were both found shot to death- Schlender inside his car.. Carswell's body was found near her car along Mississippi highways.

The motive? In a press conference, the Mississippi authorities say the killings may have been robbery and Willie may have wanted money for drugs.

At this time, he has only been charged with the murder of Lori Anne Carswell.  It could be some time before he is charged with Schlender's murder.

His family says they understand that it could be a while before a trial begins but they say when that time comes, they'll be there every step of the way.

“To know that the person responsible has been found guilty, is sentenced appropriately, and cannot come out and hurt anyone else, certainly does bring closure for us.”

 

 

 

WILLIE WILL MAKE HIS FIRST COURT APPEARANCE THIS COMING MONDAY…

AGAIN HE HAS NOT YET BEEN CHARGED IN SCHLENDER'S MURDER.