- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 13, 2016

PURVIS, Miss. (AP) - A judge is denying bond for a second time to a man accused of taking part in a conspiracy to kill a wealthy businessman who serves on the state College Board in Mississippi.

Victor Albert Mitchell, 42, was back in Lamar County Court on Monday, The Hattiesburg American reported (https://hatne.ws/2hr4z4x ).

Judge William Andrews III ruled he could not “in good conscience” grant bond because he believes Mitchell constitutes a “special danger” to the alleged victim, Tom Duff.

Mitchell is one of three men arrested in November as part of what the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation said was a plot to kill Duff.

In addition to serving on the College Board, Duff co-owns Duff Capital Investors with his brother, Jim. The two brothers have also been major donors to the University of Southern Mississippi.

“Based on the testimony of the MBI investigator, the charges filed against Mr. Mitchell entail a plan or a conspiracy with others to plot the murder of an alleged victim,” Andrews ruled. “This plan and plot according to the testimony was confirmed by a confidential informant and physical evidence at the time of the arrest of Mr. Mitchell.”

Mitchell; Howard Cameron, 47; and Glen Evans, 46, are charged with conspiracy to commit murder. All three men remain without bond in Lamar County Jail, and an online jail docket does not show whether they are represented by attorneys.

The suspects were arrested Nov. 19 at a convenience store in Forrest County by officials with the MBI, the Hattiesburg Police Department and the Marion and Lamar County sheriff’s departments, according to MBI spokesman Warren Strain.

The University of Southern Mississippi renamed its athletic facility the Jim and Thomas Duff Athletic Center a few years ago in recognition of the brothers’ $2 million donation. College Board documents list that donation as the second-largest in history to USM.

Duff Capital Investors owns nine companies, including T.L. Wallace Construction, truck-tire dealer Southern Tire Mart and wood chip hauler Forest Products Transports, all based in Columbia. The Duffs also own Pine Belt Ford and Pine Belt Chevrolet of Purvis, T.K. Stanley Oilfield Services of Waynesboro, Jackson-based refrigerated trucking firm KLLM Transport Services, Southern Insurance Group and Texas-based Frozen Food Express.

Republican Gov. Phil Bryant appointed Tom Duff in 2015 to the College Board, which oversees Mississippi’s eight public universities.

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Information from: The Hattiesburg American, https://www.hattiesburgamerican.com


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