Three Charged with Capital Murder of UM Graduate Student

OXFORD, Miss. – 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.

The case is still under investigation by local law enforcement agencies.

McClendon, a native of Gulfport, was seeking his master’s degree in business administration.

“The University family is shocked and saddened to learn of the death of Zach McClendon,” UM Dean of Students Sparky Reardon said. “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.”