Judge sets high bond for fourth robbery suspect

Dequan Upchurch is led out of Justice Court following Friday's arraignment.
Staff Writer

Bond is set at $1,225,000 for the fourth suspect in a November home invasion robbery and kidnapping.

U.S. Marshals caught 42-year-old Dequan Dewayne 'Big Poppa' Upchurch last month in Michigan and he was transported to the Clay County Jail Thursday evening.

He faces five counts of kidnapping, armed robbery and burglary.

Clay County Justice Court Judge Thomas Hampton set Upchurch's bond and entered a not guilty plea on his behalf during a brief arraignment Friday afternoon.

A court-appointed attorney will be named to represent Upchurch, who originally is from Chickasaw County.

Upchurch showed little emotion as County Prosecutor Michelle Easterling read the details of the charges against him. He did ask why the bond was so high.

"Because the court set it that high," Hampton said.

Upchurch, who has prior arrests in Arkansas and Michigan, indicated he intends to ask for a bond-reduction hearing.

His son, 22-year-old Hakeem Upchurch, is one of three other people arrested in connection with the Nov. 29 assault at a home on Pine Bluff Road in the Clay County section of Mantee in the western part of the county.

The younger Upchurch and fellow Chickasaw County residents Clarence Mitchell III, 22, and Emmett Buchanan, 44, remain in the Clay County Jail on $1,225,000 bonds.

According to court proceedings, Roger Jones was outside his house on Pine Bluff Road when four people pulled up and demanded money at gunpoint.

Jones' wife, Ariel Coleman, who was inside the house, heard the commotion in the yard and went to the door, drawing the attention of the suspects.

They forced the wife and four children -- ages 6 and 5 and 2-year-old twins -- at gunpoint into a closet in the rear bedroom of the brick home.

They made off with $1,150 and a cell phone, according to court documents.

The victims were able to give detectives the names of possible suspects.