Thu. May 23rd, 2024

On Saturday, a Mississippi jury found Stephanie Denise Ward guilty of first-degree murder and of hindering prosecution in the 2017 murder of Navy veteran, Roger Lee Scruggs, Jr.

Ward, along with John Henry May, drove Roger Lee Scruggs, Jr., to a rural area of Vaughn, Mississippi, in the late-night hours of November 22, 2017.

Testimony showed that Ward and May murdered Scruggs by beating him to death. The two then loaded the body into May’s truck where it was stored for more than a week.

Testimony further showed that on December 1, 2017, Ward and May took Scruggs’ body back to the scene of his death in an attempt to stage an ATV accident.

The next day, Ward and May went back to the scene and Ward called the Yazoo County coroner to report that her “brother,” Roger Lee Scruggs, Jr., had been found dead by an unknown by-passer.

Testimony proved that the ATV accident was staged and that Scruggs was likely killed on November 22, 2017.

The MBI investigation further revealed that the motive was likely money.

Testimony revealed that Ward had at least 15 to 20 insurance claims in the past. Two days after she reported that Scruggs deceased, Ward contacted Veterans Affairs, claiming to be his wife, and asked spousal benefits be sent directly to her.

Testimony showed that Ward then took the first spousal benefits check and used it as a down payment to purchase a brand new Ford Explorer in the name of co-defendant John Henry May.

It was also revealed that Ward went by many aliases and claimed several different professions.

Testimony from co-defendant May was crucial, which placed Ward at the scene at the time it was believed Scruggs was killed.

Cellphone technology further corroborated May’s testimony and placed Ward at the scene during the hours in question.

Ward has been sentenced to a term of life without the possibility of parole to be served in the custody of Mississippi Department of Corrections.

John Henry May previously pled guilty to the murder of Scruggs.

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By Buffy Gunner

Independent Journalist + Business Owner | Lover of all things true crime. Mantra: Only YOU can be YOU. | Los Angeles Born | buffygunner@illicitdeeds.com

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