Law officers catch Jackson fugitive

Published 1:36 am Sunday, July 2, 2006

Law officers on Friday captured Vidal Sullivan, a man the U.S. Marshals Service called “one of Jackson’s most wanted fugitives.”

Sullivan, 33, was acquitted in February of a murder charge from a 2003 slaying. Warrants were issued for his arrest earlier this week for aggravated assault related to a June 9 shooting, and for kidnapping two women in separate incidents Wednesday.

A Marshals Service news release said deputy U.S. marshals, members of the Gulf Coast Regional Fugitive Task Force and Jackson police officers found Sullivan hiding in a closet in a south Jackson home.

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The statement said officers took him into custody after a struggle.

After Sullivan was acquitted in February, Jackson Mayor Frank Melton called for Sullivan’s re-arrest and asked the state to file a new murder charge against him in the 1997 beating death of Reginald Versell, 16.

Melton is a former director of the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics. Jackson police and MBN under Melton had arrested Sullivan in Versell’s death, but the case was dropped after a witness refused to cooperate.

District Attorney Faye Peterson said at the time that new evidence would be needed to again pursue the charge.

Sullivan turned himself in to Melton and the police chief on March 1 and appeared before Municipal Court Judge Mel Priester on a warrant for a 2003 misdemeanor marijuana possession charge.

He was fined $250 plus court costs and placed on supervised probation for three months.

Sullivan left the hearing in a vehicle with the mayor, and Melton later said he was holding Sullivan in “protective custody.”

Melton said he had tried to help Sullivan. Melton said Sullivan had stopped checking in regularly with him and Jackson Police Chief Shirlene Anderson about a month ago.

“I did what I needed to do as a human being. At least I tried,” Melton said Friday.