By Emily Wagster Pettus
JACKSON, Miss. — Two men, including a convicted sex offender from Colorado, have been charged with capital murder in a high-speed crash that killed a Mississippi police officer.
Grenada County Sheriff Alton Strider said on Monday that authorities believe the driver was 20-year-old Kyle David Wendt, of Colorado Springs who has a record as a sex offender in that state. He said the passenger was 40-year-old Thomas Leland Lee, a New Orleans native whose last home address was in West Monroe, La.
Grenada Police Capt. John Wayne Haddock on Friday was hit when he was putting out spike strips to pop the tires of the car Wendt was driving. Lee and Wendt were wanted in a church burglary. Haddock died at the scene on Mississippi Highway 8 near the intersection of Interstate 55.
Haddock's funeral is Tuesday in Grenada, a town of about 13,000 residents halfway between Jackson, Miss., and Memphis, Tenn.
The two suspects were injured and airlifted to a hospital in Memphis. Strider said they had cuts and bruises but no broken bones.
They were booked into the Grenada County Jail on Saturday and also charged with burglary and felony fleeing, Strider said. They made an initial court appearance Monday and were expected to get court-appointed attorneys, he said.
Strider said Wendt initially gave officers a false name, but they tracked his identity through his fingerprints and found his record.
The Colorado Bureau of Investigation website shows Wendt was convicted in 2010 of sex assault on a child. The site says he sometimes uses the names "Raider" or "Harry Potter."
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Copyright 2011 Associated Press