Tupelo, Mississippi’s Alexander Blackwelder ordered held without bond

Alexander R. Blackwelder, 26, of Tupelo, Lee County, Mississippi, United States was a youth pastor at the East Main Church of Christ in Tupelo. He is accused of having sex with a female church member, 16.

On February 15, 2023, Tupelo Police Department detective Hal Veal received a tip that Blackwelder was having an inappropriate relationship with the girl. During the initial interview with her and her parents, she said she communicated with the youth pastor via Snapchat but denied any improprieties.


After the parents signed a consent form, detectives searched the girl’s phone. Sexual videos and pictures and conversations with Blackwelder were found on the phone, making Veal believe the two were having sex.

On February 17, 2023, Blackwelder denied the allegations when he was questioned by police. On February 22, 2023, he was brought back to the Tupelo Police Department station where he admitted that his inappropriate relationship with the girl started in October 2022.

Blackwelder was arrested, booked into the Lee County Jail in Tupelo and charged with one count of enticement of a child to produce visual depiction of sexual conduct and two counts of sexual battery-position of trust or authority of a child. He retained Tony Farese of Ashland, Benton County, Mississippi as his attorney.


On February 23, 2023, Blackwelder made his initial appearance in court before Tupelo Municipal Court Judge Willie C. Allen. Public defender Dennis Farris, who represented the youth pastor, asked for a $100,000 bond while prosecutor Richard Babb opposed bond.

Allen ordered Blackwelder to be held without bond. The judge said they could revisit the matter during the preliminary hearing.

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