The P.I.s continue their investigation meeting with a few more people including Captain Jay Arrington (Meridian Police) who believes that the charges he wanted for manslaughter by culpable negligence should have and could have been carried out back in 2017 had Bilbo Mitchell (DA) allowed him to present to a jury. We also hear leaked audio from a recent meeting between several public officials regarding Christian’s case.
Kassie Coleman – District Attorney
Benny Dubose – Police Chief (MPD)
Jay Arrington – Captain of Investigations (MPD)
Gypsi Ward – Investigator (AG)
Tony Green – Director of Investigations PID (AG)
Richie McAlister – Chief Administrative Officer
Kassie Coleman: The folks that just left, were you meeting with them, or were y’all both meeting with them?
Benny Dubose: He did. I did not.
Kassie Coleman: Who were they?
Jay Arrington: They came in here. Chief was sitting in the office. I asked him was it okay to talk to ‘em? I’m assuming that is another batch of private investigators.
Benny Dubose: From Texas?
Jay Arrington: From Texas. Yeah.
Benny Dubose: Okay.
Kassie Coleman: Her name was Sheila?
Kassie Coleman: That’s what she said, Sheila?
Jay Arrington: I’ve heard all this before and they was wanting to look at the case file. I told him we don’t have that case anymore that the AG’s office has the case. They won’t see the physical file that time. I couldn’t show it to them anyway without the chief’s approval. I’m sure they’d be contacting you all, ’cause they’re wanting to talk to whoever’s got the case file and I just told them where the case file was.
Of course now, what DNA they looking for on the gun, because it’s a gun that belonged to Andreacchio. He left it at the apartment for Whitley and early in the evening, he’s supposed to been holding it to his head and Swearingen, just took it away from him. So, there’s …
Kassie Coleman: And I, my understanding is I think that that is why the attorney at the AG’s office said, “We’re not going to pay for it and it’s really no good if you paid for it.” If you send it to a lab, you’re still paying for the results. My understanding, and I haven’t spoken directly to the AG that’s handled it and they’re sitting here, maybe they can answer, but their point was even if it comes back that it’s Whitley or if it’s…
Jay Arrington: If I pass my gun all the way around the room and we send it off for DNA and your DNA comes back on it …
Kassie Coleman: I don’t disagree with you.
Gypsi Ward: I got an answer to that. The reason that we did not do that is because we contacted the crime lab and they put it in writing that if they test this sample it will be completely destroyed forever. There’s no getting it back ’cause it’s so small and our thinking was, okay, let’s not do that just in case something comes out later.
Kassie Coleman: I think you said at some point they even mentioned that they thought maybe somebody else was involved. It wasn’t even these two anymore, but I had never just point blank asked the question, you know, what did they bring you? What evidence did they bring? I do feel like, Chief, that they’re calling whatever it is, new evidence, because when I first spoke with Todd, I said, this is going to be presented to a grand jury. The standard practice across the state and the country is either new evidence or some evidence that we had, but we didn’t present it.
That’s the standard for re-presenting it to the grand jury. I also understand and you all understand it was not handled properly in the beginning and if I were them-
Benny Dubose: That we all agree on.
Kassie Coleman: Right, I’d be suspect. I’d be suspicious. I don’t blame them for feeling like this system has failed them. I just think that at some point you have to trust that other people have looked into it and all that prompts to say, after you and I talked, Jay showed up and said that he did feel like that there was sufficient evidence, um, on on a theory to to bring it forward and I just want us all to be on the same page.
Jay Arrington: I don’t have any new evidence. I didn’t get to present anything on what I had to start with. Bilbo made a decision to send it to the AG’s office, which that’s Bilbo’s decision. I never got to present the case, what I thought happened.
Kassie Coleman: The family requested that Bilbo recuse himself. I think at that point he doesn’t really have an option if he pushes forward knowing that he believes that the evidence points to being a suicide.
Jay Arrington: The family asked for him to recuse himself or recuse me?
Kassie Coleman: Him. They asked that he recuse himself.
Benny Dubose: Jay presented, if I’m not mistaken, manslaughter, culpable negligence, and they said no, they want murder.
Kassie Coleman: When the warrants were issued for the culpable negligence manslaughter, how did they become withdrawn?
Jay Arrington: There’s a murder warrant that was really the issue because with Bilbo you got to shoot it high and let him roll it back to manslaughter. If you shoot with manslaughter, Bilbo will roll it down to whatever.
Kassie Coleman: Okay, so that’s what I’m saying. You’ve actually issued and had warrants signed by for murder and culpable negligence?
Jay Arrington: I had, originally, I was going to do murder and let him roll it back to manslaughter. After talking to him, had it recalled on murder and then left the warrant of manslaughter by culpable negligence.
Kassie Coleman: Did Robbie Jones or any judge sign a warrant for murder?
Jay Arrington: He did, but he recalled it before I issued it or did anything with it.
Kassie Coleman: Okay, so how did it come about that he was recalling it?
Jay Arrington: They didn’t have enough of that, that the other charge. That’s what fit it. Manslaughter by culpable negligence. The manslaughter one was still in the file, isn’t it?
Kassie Coleman: Is it, actively right now you could go arrest somebody?
Jay Arrington: If I entered it into the computer. It’s signed, I could arrest somebody on it.
Kassie Coleman: If the question is asked to you, why didn’t you enter it into the computer, what is the answer?
Jay Arrington: Because it was going to a grand jury without arrest. I had the warrant in there, the show to charge it and it was close enough to grand jury time. I believe what was decided that time talking to DA’s office just present it without arrest.
Richie McAlister: My question is, we have some stuff here, correct? We’ve got our case file, the city’s or has it been turned over to AG?
Kassie Coleman: It doesn’t say. The only thing that you would have is something you printed from your system.
Benny Dubose: What are we trying to do here?
Kassie Coleman: What I’m trying to do I guess is gain an understanding of what has happened and then where we’re at. Again, just from y’all’s meeting with them back in November, both of you were saying they brought nothing with them.
Benny Dubose: Unless it was something they did verbally and they considered it evidence but we didn’t.
Jay Arrington: I thought it was a pretty good case of manslaughter by culpable negligence. At the same time I’m over to judge’s office. Robbie’s got Bilbo on speaker phone and he tells Robbie, I’m just making the facts up of the case as I go. That’s when I was done with Bilbo and next thing I know, then it goes to the AG’s office.
Kassie Coleman: You’re being confrontational.
Jay Arrington: Yeah, well I’m just saying I mean…
Kassie Coleman: I’m just trying to figure out the fact, you hate Bilbo. I get it.
Jay Arrington: I don’t know why I hate Bilbo. When you got cases where you won’t indict because somebody’s a good baseball player in high school. I don’t know.
Kassie Coleman: I can’t be held responsible for this.
Jay Arrington: I got you, but I’m just saying that’s what was said,
Kassie Coleman: But Chief, like when they contacted you back in November, what did you, I mean, what were your thoughts on why they were wanting to meet? I mean do you feel…
Benny Dubose: Same old, same old. Wanting to bring somebody in to tell us about this, how they can solve the case, present the case. What we missed. They always had an expert with them or expert report. They were just talking about, I think, I forgot the term, where the blood settled in his legs or something. Talking about that, and-
Jay Arrington: Was that that Knox bunch that had all that?
Benny Dubose: Group out of Florida?
Jay Arrington: Yeah.
Richie McAlister: Yeah, yeah.
Kassie Coleman: What they said to me is, are you going to reopen it? I’m like, we don’t investigate, but I’m not going to throw you under the bus and say you’re talking to the police department to get them to do it. I’ve just said if anybody were to bring new evidence, I don’t think you all would turn it away. We wouldn’t turn it away.
Chief Dubose: We made it clear that that was what they needed in order to get it presented, was something new.
Kassie Coleman: I guess I felt like your request last week was for an opportunity to present the case again.
Jay Arrington: Yeah, I’d like to work on that case some more and go at it again. But, uh, that’s just me.
Tony Green: I think it’s sad that we’re all playing fiddle to the tune of the Andreke’s. I’ve never seen in my 33 years a group of people, have all of us dancing to their tune to the media. That’s not what we’re all about.
They’ve played this out to the media. They played us all against each other, all this back and forth. I don’t know Bilbo. Now he’s working for us. I don’t know him. I don’t see him. We got 300 something people there. It’s been a circus. I’m so sorry about their son. Whatever happened, I wasn’t there.
I sent investigators. Top notch. Some of the best we’ve got. They spent months and hours and hours looking through this case. Experts to review it. I am a firm believer in this, just because one group looked at it and found that it would deem suicide or another group found and believed it was suicide, we presented all facts that we had, based on evidence, statements, crime lab results, and that’s what we presented.
There was no personal, ’cause we don’t know any of them. We presented what we had, and a grand jury made that decision based on what we have. We don’t need the assistance of private eyes, but we would love to have whatever information they have. I’m just saying this, we’re not dumping it because we’ve done worked it. We spent two years working this thing. So, this is not a dump. We’re through. We’ve done our due diligence, worked this case from one end to the other.
There’s nothing else we can do with this case. Our office is willing to turn the case over to y’alls office, let a new set of eyes take it. Y’all wanna work with this. Whatever these folks have got, so be it. We’re not going to answer to the Andreacchio’s. We’re not going to answer to this podcast, this media. We never have so we’re not going to start now. This is between us.
Gypsi Ward: We put every single report: Jay’s, Bratu’s, MPD’s, every single private investigator’s. We’ve done this in a PowerPoint and they were able to go through every single case. What the PI’s found, what the MPD found. We put all the text messages up there and they was able to review all the text messages that was on all phones. There was nothing that we did not have in that box.
A PowerPoint, presentation, even stuff that we found and was able to show them. We put Knox we put Arden’s, we put Max Hayes. There was not one that we did not put in a PowerPoint. There was not one piece of thing that grand jury did not have an opportunity to see. We were very, very transparent.
Kassie Coleman: Gypsi, do you feel like they considered, and Jay, I don’t want to misquote you, but our conversation last Thursday was the culpable negligence manslaughter that your thoughts were because of them giving the gun back, allowing him to have the gun back, that negligent act which led to his death. Not that you didn’t … You believe that he had the gun to his head, that he shot himself, but had they not given the gun back, Gypsi, that theory, do you feel like that was explored by the grand jury as far as what culpability, if any, Dylan especially had for …
Gypsi Ward: We explained that to them, and how that works.
Kassie Coleman: Okay.
Gypsi Ward: That’s when they said, well, that doesn’t seem fair. If this person says I’m going to kill myself, and then three days later they do it, that means I go to jail and they didn’t like that. They seen everything in the grand jury, so unless something comes up today that’s different than we showed them, I don’t know what else you can do.
Kassie Coleman: To either of your knowledge, nothing additional has been brought or received here since October?
Jay Arrington: No.
Gypsi Ward: Well, I mean we even presented to the grand jury that their biggest question was blood spatter. Why was there not tons of blood spatter in the bathroom? I don’t know if you all have seen this video, we showed them a video of a gentleman committed suicide and an interrogation room with the exact same type weapon and there is no blood spatter.
We showed a suicide video to the grand jury to try to explain the blood spatter and lack of, and this gentleman sits in a chair in an interrogation room, pulls out the same gun, put it to his head. There’s none. It’s just drippage. It’s not a blow out like everybody thinks. After they saw that in the grand jury, it made more sense to them and the way his body curled up, his finger is still on the trigger, kind of like the autopsy pictures.
Tony Green: That’s something you all can think about it. Hey, if you find something with a new set of eyes or they provide something and you all go in and indict him …
Kassie Coleman: Best of luck.
Tony Green: We’ll have a party with you.
Kassie Coleman: If any of these people were to make a request, like a FOIA request, you all would provide it, period. I mean obviously they got to pay for the copies. I get all that, but my question is, there would be none of this, we’re not going to turn every, being because it’s a closed investigation.
Richie McAlister: Unless it was turned over as an active investigation.
Tony Green: We’re not going to give them anything. If we did close, if they want to take it and re look at it.
Kassie Coleman: No, no. I’m saying if a person made a freedom of information request, if it’s open we obviously don’t turn them over, but since it’s closed …
Tony Green: I’ll have to ask Stan that, ’cause I would hope we send the whole file over here. We don’t have it to give out.
Kassie Coleman: Okay.
Gypsi Ward: Yes. But yes, we’ve already had to do that once. The Andreacchio’s done that, and we gave them everything. That’s why you’ll see numbers, like how many pages it was on the outside.
Kassie Coleman: Chief, what are your thoughts?
Benny Dubose: I feel sorry for them. There’s no doubt that it was botched from the beginning.
Kassie Coleman: Like you said, we all agree on that.
Benny Dubose: They’re going to keep on scratching and scratching and they’re not going to get what they want in the end. Not unless they get Dylan, and Whitley to step forward and say yeah we shot him. That ain’t happening.
Kassie Coleman: I don’t want to speak on your behalf without talking to you, but I feel like that that is the answer right now, is that the standard across the country is, it was presented to a grand jury. It was no true billed. Regardless of whether that had been Bilbo that presented it or the AG’s office that presented it, unless there is either new information, newly discovered, or there’s some reason to believe that it wasn’t all presented, which I don’t have any hesitations that they presented something different than what they said, then it’s not correct for us to re-present it. I don’t have the resources to reopen it. You all have certainly expended multiple resources, but I don’t want to say that, and then your department say, “Well, if she’d have asked, we would have looked into it again.”
Gypsi Ward: Then don’t feel like if new evidence come forward that our office will shut it down. I mean, I don’t feel like that.
Jay Arrington: I did interview Wilburn D Thompson about who made the gun safe.
Kassie Coleman: I think you talked to the coroner and maybe ambulance, but you just-
Richie McAlister: Anyone of them say they did? Did either one of them?
Jay Arrington: No, they couldn’t remember clearing the gun.
Richie McAlister: I don’t know what else we can get, other than a confession.
Benny Dubose: I mean looking at the case when she first called me and I got the case, I read the case. I looked at it and thought this is screwed up big time. A lot of contradictions and stuff in there. Whitley saying that she was hugging him or somebody saying that Whitley was hugging him and I think it was saying leave him alone. She didn’t have a drop of blood on her. That didn’t make a lot of sense.
Jay Arrington: Slept through the gunshot.
Benny Dubose: Yeah, slept through the gunshot, in an apartment.
Jay Arrington: But he comes in and just wakes her up.
Gypsi Ward: It’s hard to undo a bail that’s wrong.
Richie McAlister: Yeah.
Gypsi Ward: That’s the problem.
Kassie Coleman: I don’t think anybody whatsoever has any doubts that they moved the body. I mean, there’s no doubt about that. It’s just whether or not there was more to it than that.
Tony Green: We’ve done all we can do.
Gypsi Ward: I said, unless something else comes new, we presented everything we have.
In this episode, more investigating continues. Sheila and Mark G make a trip up north to visit Matt Miller, and Mark G meets with Zach Tabb in Houston.
We also hear of Sheila and Mark G meeting with Detective Arrington, who was an MPD investigator on Christian’s case. He shares that he wanted charges for manslaughter by culpable negligence. He also shares that he was not allowed to present his case to the grand jury because Bilbo would not allow him to. Arrington shares his theories on what happened with Christian’s death.
Further, we hear audio that was leaked to the public from someone in law enforcement of a conversation between a group of public officials who were involved with Christian’s case (Kassie Coleman, Tony Green, Gypsi Ward, Chief Dubose, Detective Arrington, and Richie McAlister from the city of Meridian). This meeting took place only minutes after Sheila and Mark met with Arrington.
Executive producers: Dennis Cooper, Jacob Bozarth, Mark Minnery, Donald Albright and Payne Lindsey
Additional production: Whitney Bozarth, Courtney Cooper, Meredith Steadman and Mason Lindsey
Audio editing, mixing, mastering, and sound design by Resonate Recordings
Cover art by Drew Bardana
Special thanks to Mike Hynes, Sheila Wysocki and Lance Black
Sheila’s team of private investigators consists of: Jay Marvin, Michael Kenney, Mark Gillespie, Troy Fleming, Brandy Lo, Claudia Barrios, and George Gergis, all of whom are certified private investigators and generously shared their time, expertise and experience with us to help Christian’s case.