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Bond denied for 3 charged with capital murder in Ole Miss student's death

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Derick Boone, 23, of Laurel, Miss. (courtesy Lafayette County Sheriff) Derick Boone, 23, of Laurel, Miss. (courtesy Lafayette County Sheriff)
Joseph Lyons, 20, of Houston, Texas (courtesy Lafayette County Sheriff) Joseph Lyons, 20, of Houston, Texas (courtesy Lafayette County Sheriff)
Steven Matthew Wilbanks, 22, of North Carolina (courtesy Lafayette County Sheriff) Steven Matthew Wilbanks, 22, of North Carolina (courtesy Lafayette County Sheriff)
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LAFAYETTE COUNTY, Miss. (FOX13) -

UPDATE: Bond has been denied for the three men arrested in the death of a University of Mississippi graduate student.

The Oxford Eagle reports (http://bit.ly/1iA4toK ) a justice court judge denied bond this past week for 22-year old Steven Matthew Wilbanks of Burnsville, N.C., 24-year-old Derick Boone of Laurel and 20-year-old Joseph Lyons of Houston, Texas.

They are being held in the Lafayette County jail.

Each is charged with capital murder in the death of 25-year-old Zacharias Herculese McClendon of Gulfport. Deputies found McClendon dead with a single gunshot Wednesday morning when they were asked to check on him at his duplex just north of the Oxford city limits.

McClendon was in his first year of studying for a master's of business administration degree.

Authorities say robbery was the motive.

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(previous story)

Two Ole Miss students and a Texas man have been arrested and charged with capital murder in the death of 25-year-old Ole Miss grad student Zacharias Herculese McClendon, the Lafayette County Sheriff said.

MORE: Foul play suspected in Ole Miss grad student death

Steven Matthew Wilbanks is 22 and from North Carolina; Derick Boone is 24 and from Laurel, Miss.; and Joseph Lyons is 20 and from Houston, Texas, the sheriff's department said.

The University of Mississippi said in a statement Wilbanks and Boone are students at the university. Wilbanks is French major and Boone is a banking and finance major.

Wednesday morning Lafayette County Sheriff's Department deputies discovered the body of McClendon upon receiving a call in the College Hill community off County Road 140 for a welfare concern.

Deputies said they found the body of Mr. McClendon, of Gulfport, Miss., with a single gunshot wound at around 3 a.m. Wednesday while conducting a welfare check.

In the wake of the three arrests, the University of Mississippi released this statement:

"Three men have been arrested today and charged with the capital murder of University of Mississippi graduate student Zach McClendon, 25, who was found dead Wednesday morning on Levee Road in Lafayette County near Oxford.

"Two of the three suspects in custody are UM students. They are Steven Matthew Wilbanks, 22, who is majoring in French and graduated from high school in Burnsville, N.C., and Derick Richard Boone, 23, a banking and finance major who graduated from high school in Laurel. A third man, Joseph Bryant Lyons, 20, who isn't enrolled at the university, was also charged. The three suspects have been denied bond."


Mr. McClendon, a native of Gulfport, was seeking his master's degree in business administration, the university said.

"The University family is shocked and saddened to learn of the death of Zach McClendon," said Ole Miss Dean of Students Sparky Reardon. "We feel pain and loss any time one of our students is taken from us. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends and we, as a University family, will do all that we can to support them."

Bond has not been set for the three suspects.

Meanwhile, residents who live in Mr. McClendon's neighborhood are having a hard time understanding why he was killed.

"It's a little unnerving. It really is," said Corey Hamil, Ole Miss student and neighbor.

Neighbors told FOX13 News at least one of the three suspects lived in the apartment next door to McClendon's apartment, where crime scene tape also covered the neighbor's door. Authorities would not confirm if that's the case. Still, residents and college students who live near the duplex are having a tough time coming to grips with McClendon's death.

"There's never been anything like this happen, even remotely close," Hamil said. "It's always just quiet and you never think anything could happen, and it's like, where did this come from? Why did it happen? All of these questions."

Additional information into Mr. McClendon's death has yet to be released, the sheriff's office said.

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FOX13 News reporter Kristin Tallent and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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