Beheading of federal witness being tried

Published 1:37 pm Tuesday, September 9, 2008

A man accused of decapitating and hacking the hands off a federal witness five years ago is scheduled for trial Monday in U.S. District Court in Jackson.

Sixty-one-year-old Joe Lewis Collins of Magee is charged with murder in the 2003 slaying of Clovis Reed of Canton.

Reed’s body was found April 4, 2003, in a wooded area in Simpson County a week before she was scheduled to testify in an embezzlement case.

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Kathleen Nelson and her boyfriend, Roosevelt Walker, both of Canton, were convicted in February 2006 of conspiracy to commit murder in Reed’s death and sentenced to life in prison.

Levon Edmond, also of Canton, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder and was sentenced to 25 years in 2006. Nelson and Edmond are sisters.

Collins was implicated during Edmond’s plea hearing. She said Walker held Reed’s head as Collins cut it off.