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Biography: Donald "Dewey" Devoe, victim's apartment complex manager

Donald "Dewey" Devoe was born February 22, 1975. Ben and Ivy Devoe, both of modest means, often told relatives they had high hopes for their two sons. They dreamt Chris and Dewey would go to college and become doctors or lawyers, able to support them amply in old age. But Dewey's report cards show he never exhibited the ambition of his older brother. While Chris followed his parents' playbook -- flying the coop to attend Mississippi State, graduating with honors, and moving West to partake in the dot-com gold rush -- Dewey was content to coast through school on his average intelligence, earning straight Cs. The more his parents harped, the more Dewey rebelled, becoming the exact mirror opposite of their vision for him. In high school, he began hanging out with the stoners and was suspended once for possession of alcohol on campus.

At the same time, Dewey was good-looking and affable, and friends said he had a knack for making almost anyone feel liked. He got by on his charm in the after-school and summer fast-food and restaurant jobs he worked during high school. He didn't hang on to any of them for too long, though; after a couple of months, when the novelty wore off, he began complaining to coworkers about the tedium and quit.

Dewey's temperament went over well with girls and, after graduation, he moved in with his high school girlfriend. But she said she soon tired of Dewey's laid-back attitude and turned up the heat, encouraging him to seek a better future for himself so they could get married; Dewey moved back home as a result. He repeated the pattern until his parents told him to move out and stay out -- even if that meant getting his own place rather than moving into someone else's.

Luckily, at the same time, one of his old high school buddies, then a college senior at Ole Miss, told Dewey about a job opening as manager of the apartment complex where he lived. The job suited him -- not only did he get a free pad, but he could hang out with college kids without actually having to attend classes. Residents remembered Dewey making friends in the complex and partying with them. Dewey was popular partly because of his hobby -- marijuana grower. He had two plants he referred to at parties by name. At first, they were for his own use, but it was more than he needed and it was easy money to sell it when he needed extra cash.

Unfortunately, a serious dispute between two student tenants in the complex disrupted Dewey's idyllic existence, and for once he had to make a hard choice -- evicting one of them. The evicted student trashed Dewey's apartment and a complaint was lodged with complex's management company, which decided to move Dewey out. The company found him a spot at another of their apartment complexes -- The Turn, home to Kristi Waterson and Michelle Prescott, among other wealthy students.

After his dust-up at the old apartment complex, Dewey maintained a lower profile with the tenants at The Turn. Residents generally reported they were pleased with Dewey, calling him a pleasant young man -- although they said he was slow to complete routine maintenance and respond to repair requests. A few claimed he sometimes helped divorcees with more than their groceries, but Dewey knew better -- he did his socializing off-premises.

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