A man charged in the killing of his girlfriend allegedly shot her in the head after the couple got into an argument at her Walthall County home on Sunday, according to a criminal affidavit filed in the case.

Keith Penton is charged with first-degree murder in connection with the death of Mona James, who was found dead at her house on Brandon Bay Church Road.

A judge set Penton’s bond at $750,000 on Tuesday.

Detective Bryant “Wally” Jones stated in an affidavit filed in Walthall County Justice Court that deputies went to the house after receiving a call for help in regard to “a Black female who was inside of the residence and the reporting person did not know if she was breathing.”

Deputies found James in the living room of the home with an apparent gunshot wound to her head, the affidavit states.

The affidavit does not identify the “reporting person.”

Under questioning from investigators, Penton said he and James got into an argument after Penton told her he was leaving the house.

“Keith Penton stated that Mona James was walking in front of him down the hallway and made her way to the living room when he shot Mona James one time as she was walking away from him,” according to the affidavit.

Penton faces a preliminary hearing in justice court on March 4, court officials said Tuesday.

Sheriff Kyle Breland has declined to comment on James’ cause of death, citing the ongoing investigation. Neither Breland nor Walthall County Justice Lashunda Magee initially agreed Tuesday to release a copy of a criminal affidavit in the case, which is public record under Mississippi law.

Magee eventually agreed to release the affidavit after the district attorney’s office intervened, but only if an Enterprise-Journal reporter went to Tylertown to get it. A member of the news staff did so on Tuesday afternoon.

James’ death follows an unusually violent week in Walthall County. Last Thursday, 18-year-old Den’Javis Warren died in a shooting on Highway  27 South around 3:19 p.m.

DaJohn Morgan and DeMarcus Smith, both of McComb, have both been charged with first-degree murder in that case. Breland has not released any details of that case either.

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