A state college board member may have been the target of a murder plot, WDAM reports.

Three men were arrested in Hattiesburg over the weekend and changed with conspiracy to commit murder.

WDAM reported today that the mark of the alleged plot was Thomas Duff of Columbia. Duff has been an Institutes of Higher Learning commissioner since May 2015 and is an owner of a capital-investment firm that operates several businesses.

Attempts to reach Duff at one of his businesses and home were unsuccessful.

According to a statement from an unidentified family spokesman to the TV station: “The Duffs were unaware of this person, attempt and know very few details, they are very pleased with how this being handled by the authorities.”

Dr. Glenn Boyce, Commissioner of Higher Education, released this statement: “Trustee Duff is a valued member of the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning and a leader within his community. While this is a very disturbing situation, we appreciate the great work of the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation and other law enforcement agencies that prevented any harm from coming to Trustee Duff.”

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Ryan L. Nave, a native of University City, Mo., served as Mississippi Today's editor-in-chief from May 2018 until April 2020. Ryan began his career with Mississippi Today February 2016 as an original member of the editorial team. He became news editor August 2016. Ryan has a bachelor’s in political science from the University of Missouri-Columbia and has worked for Illinois Times and served as news editor for the Jackson Free Press.