HPNM

Accused Murderer Robert Lenoir Purports to Be the Victim in Latest Domestic Assault Arrest.

robert lenoir Accused Mississippi murderer Robert Lenoir, who is currently out on bail on a seven count indictment in Pike County Mississippi, recently spent ten days in jail in Winnsboro, Louisiana. Lenoir was arrested on Monday, October 3rd on domestic violence charges at the home he shared with his girlfriend. Lenoir’s girlfriend, Reagon Zufelt, who is also the mother of his child, was also arrested on domestic charges in the incident. Both were held for 48 hours in the Franklin Parish Detention Center before being eligible to bond out on $5,000 bonds. Zufelt bonded out the following Wednesday. Lenoir bonded out this past Friday. Lenoir is to have no contact with Zufelt as a condition of his bond (pictured at bottom).

THE WINNSBORO DOMESTIC DETAILS

HPNM contacted Winnsboro Police Chief Tyrone Coleman about the domestic incident. Chief Coleman confirmed that Zufelt called 911 and expressed concerns over Lenoir’s behavior. According to Coleman,  she also stated on the call that that Lenoir had a gun, and kids were in the home. According to Chief Coleman, officers were immediately dispatched, and upon arrival, they investigated the situation. Officers took pictures of superficial head and face injuries on Lenoir, which he claimed were caused by Zufelt hitting him with the gun.  According to Coleman, Zufelt had a minor injury to her hand, and the incident occurred with children in the home. Both were arrested. The three minor children were picked up by a relative, and according to Coleman, Louisiana CPS was subsequently contacted by the department.

ROBERT LENOIR’S PAST ARRESTS

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Reagon Hatley Zufelt posted on Facebook about the alleged abuse back in 2019.

Zufelt is no stranger with domestic issues between her and Lenoir. Zufelt filed domestic assault charges on Lenoir in 2019 for allegedly physically assaulting her with a handgun. Zufelt posted on Facebook about the assault.

Zufelt stated in her post,

“So if you are stupid enough to hire someone like this, I hope your hearing isn’t January 8th [2020] because he is on trial that day himself.”

Zufelt did not show up for court on the alleged 2019 assault, and the case was dismissed.

Lenoir’s previous wife also filed charges for domestic assault. Those court documents were published in the article titled, “McComb Attorney Charged with Murder Has History of Domestic Violence Arrests.”

THE MURDER & CHILD ABUSE INDICTMENT

Lenoir was charged in a seven-count indictment on June 9th, 2022. The case is being prosecuted special prosecutors Becky Pruett Denham and James Lane. The indictment included the alleged murder of Wendy Dansby (Count I), but also included a charge where drugs had allegedly been found in his then two-year-old-daughter’s system (Count VI). The charges in the indictment include:

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Wendy Dansby was found deceased in Robert Lenoir’s Mississippi Home in 2021.

Count I: First-Degree Murder
Count II: Possession of Controlled Substance
Count III: Tampering with Physical Evidence
Count IV: Possession of Controlled Substance
Count V: Child Endangerment
Count VI: Felony Child Abuse (Drugs in child’s system)
Count VII: Tampering with a Witness (Reagon Zufelt)

Denham is the special crimes prosecutor for the Forrest County District Attorney’s Office and was appointed after the Pike County District Attorney’s Office recused themselves from this case. Special Judge Forrest A. Johnson was appointed by the Mississippi Supreme Court to preside over the case after both Pike County Circuit judges also recused themselves.

LOCAL READER CONCERNS

Many readers who have been following HPNM’s coverage of the Lenoir saga are expressing dismay over Lenoir’s perceived special treatment. Julia Hammendorp asked,

“Why in the world was he allowed to bind [sic] on a charge of Murder? And on top of that not have a condition in his bond about leaving the state??”

Sherri Hogan replied to Hammendorp,

“the good old judge allowed it to happen at his last court appearance. And on top of that the judge also allowed his daughter which [sic] had drugs in her system (to) live with Robert and Reagon.”

 

Wendy Dansby’s father recently commented on social media.

Lenoir’s recent arrest on domestic charges also affected Robert Dansby, the father of alleged murder victim, Wendy Dansby. Dansby was found deceased in Lenoir’s home in March of 2021. Dansby’s father recently commented on social media after Lenoir’s Louisiana arrest.

“My Wife ( Sherry ) warned Wendy not to go to go to this Man’s house. She told her Mother that She could handle Him. But She couldn’t. “

BOND AND ARRAIGNMENT ON MURDER, WHAT HAPPENED?

When a defendant is served with an indictment, they are normally arrested and have an arraignment where bond and conditions are set before the prosecution and defense counsel. Judge Forrest A. Johnson was already appointed by the Mississippi Supreme Court to preside over the case prior to the indictment being unsealed on June 29, 2022. Immediately after Lenoir’s arrest, his bond was set by the Judge Johnson at $200,000 and Lenoir bonded out in a few hours, pending a hearing on arraignment.

On July 19, 2022, a formal preliminary hearing was held for Lenoir. At the hearing, Denham argued for a no contact order dealing with the minor child in Counts V and VI in the indictment. Judge Coleman began the hearing by stating,

“The bail, um, I set at 200 thousand dollars, um, I think that’s a, a  reasonable bail given all the considerations in this matter. The court’s entitled to set certain limitations, within reason on that. I would ask that the defendant remain in the state of Mississippi under the terms of this bond.”

“The state is seeking on count v and vi, um obviously we have another victim in this matter, and minor child with the initials P.L., and we are seeking a no contact order to be in place for the bond condition with that minor child. This is not, um the first time this child has been subjected to these charges…”

Judge Coleman, “Well, alright, Lemme just stop right there. Mr. Fortner is there any objection to contact with this minor, how old is the child?

Denham, “She’s two at the time.”

Hattiesburg Attorney Tom Fortner, who is representing Lenoir objected. Fortner responded “Yeah, there is an objection to that, judge. um, for the last several months, I can’t tell you exactly what specific date, um, my client has been, this child involved in this and her mother, have been, have moved to Winnsboro and are living with my client, and that’s been going on several months now. Um, and the child’s custody and her, who had custody of her and what, whether or not my client could or could not have contact with her is a matter that’s already been decided, finally, by the youth court or the chancery court here. So, I’m not sure this would be appropriate.”

Judge Johnson responded, “I will order that he not be in the custody, presence of the minor child without other adults, um, being present.”

Denham further stipulated, “Well your honor under the rule, under Rule 15 we are allowed to revisit the bond conditions and no condition was set initially because there was no minor victim with the initial charges. He was only arrested on possession of meth amphetamine and tampering with meth amphetamine. Now that he has been indicted by a grand jury with counts that do include this victim, at the time of the CPS report that was initially made, they closed out their case because the child was not, no longer in the home with the perpetrator [Lenoir]. He [Lenoir] went to drug treatment. The child went with an individual named Reagon Zufelt.”

“It’s pretty standard in these cases to not have a child in the custody with the individual that is alleged to have committed these acts. I will add that Ms. Zufelt tested clean on her hair follicle, and there is substantial evidence that the child has drugs in her system, and that we have evidence against Mr. Lenoir.”

Judge Johnson ultimately ruled that, “he [Lenoir] is not to be with the child by himself.” Judge Johnson went on to address his allowance of Lenoir to remain in Louisiana with caution. Judge Johnson told Lenoir,

“I would hope somebody’s looking into this matter, and, but um, Louisiana is different, um so, I’m going to allow you to live over there right now, but this court has the full right to require that you remain right here in the State of Mississippi, and just keep that in mind. There’s no question about that.”

Lenoir responded, “Yes, sir.”

Denham reiterated to the court, “I just want to say under rule 8.4 b(4) and b(5) to restrict his travel and associations b(5) or can restrict any specified person of direct or indirect contact. This is a named victim in two counts of the indictment. One of them is punishable up to life.”

Judge Coleman, “I not going to address at this time any further other than no contact, or don’t be in the presence of the child without someone else there, who would be your wife or the child’s mother I guess at this time. And I’m going to fully reserve the right to the state to investigate this matter further or present what matters need to. I’m just simply not prepared to get into this on a full scale basis right now.”

Coleman went on to say, “but until then, the condition will be the he’s not to be with the child by himself.”

Lenoir’s Attorney Tom Fortner filed a motion for change of venue and a motion for continuance. Judge Johnson entered an order continuing trial, but no date has been set at this time.

LENOIR WINNSBORO BOND ORDER ON DOMESTIC

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LENOIR MOTION TO CHANGE VENUE

Robert Lenoir Docket

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ROBERT LENOIR INDICTMENT

lenoir indictment

 

ROBERT LENOIR PAST DOMESTIC ABUSE ALLEGATIONS

Robert Lenoir (1)-compressed

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