Man sentenced to 20 years after pleading guilty to 2021 manslaughter case
PINE BELT, Miss. (WDAM) - A man was sentenced in relation to the 2021 shooting death of Carlos McGruder.
On Friday, 12th Circuit Court District Attorney Lin Carter announced that 23-year-old Trenderrious Brock of Water Valley, Miss., pleaded guilty to manslaughter in Forrest County Circuit Clerk in front of Judge Robert Helfrich. Brock was sentenced to 20 years.
On Nov. 8, 2021, the Hattiesburg Police Department was dispatched to the Holiday Inn parking lot on a shooting report.
When officers arrived, they found McGruder in his vehicle, shot multiple times. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
The HPD investigation determined that Brock and co-defendants Juan Cole and Keeairah Lewis had checked into the Holiday Inn the previous day, and Lewis was reportedly using the room for prostitution.
Lewis was allegedly seeing different men in the room again the next day (Nov. 8) while Cole and Brock sat in Cole’s vehicle in the parking lot.
One of the men that came to see Lewis reportedly robbed and beat her inside the hotel room before leaving. Lewis called Cole, and Cole and Brock exited the vehicle and began looking for the man.
Cole was reportedly running through the hotel lobby with a pistol looking for anyone he believed committed the robbery. Brock, who was not armed, was in the parking lot doing the same.
While in the parking lot, Brock saw McGruder in a vehicle backing out of a parking spot and called Cole. Cole reportedly ran to the parking lot and began firing into McGruder’s car as he was driving away, fatally striking him several times.
McGruder’s vehicle went through the parking lot and crashed into an adjacent building. Officials believe he was not responsible for Lewis’ alleged robbery and beating.
Cole, Lewis and Brock reportedly drove away from the scene.
Brock eventually turned himself in, while Cole and Lewis remain at large.
All three suspects were indicted by a Forrest County Grand Jury: Cole for first-degree murder and Lewis for accessory after the fact to murder.
“This was a senseless and horrific crime,” said Carter. “Mr. McGruder did nothing wrong, and this case of mistaken identity led to him being brutally murdered. I feel for the family of Mr. McGruder and hope this measure of justice may bring them some small sense of peace as they move forward.
However, we really want the shooter, Juan Cole, in custody so he can be held accountable.”
Carter said Cole and Lewis are still on the run and actively sought by law enforcement.
If you have any information as to their whereabouts, please contact law enforcement as soon as possible.
Assistant District Attorney Bryan Buckley is prosecuting the case.
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