Gautier man sentenced to 40 years in fatal hit-and-run

A Jackson County jury found Terrance “Fred” McNaughton, 23, guilty of second-degree murder.
Published: Jun. 1, 2023 at 4:49 PM CDT
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JACKSON COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - Following a three-day trial, a Jackson County jury found Terrance “Fred” McNaughton, 23, guilty of second-degree murder on Thursday.

During the trial, the state presented testimony and evidence that McNaughton ran over his ex-girlfriend Nina Cumbest while driving a 1999 Chevrolet Silverado.

Cumbest sustained a traumatic brain injury, among other serious injuries, and died six months later. The Gautier Police Department investigated the case.

Judge Kathy King Jackson sentenced McNaughton to 40 years in prison without parole. He has already served two years.

“The jury saw the truth and found Terrance McNaughton guilty of second-degree murder despite the defendant’s efforts to gaslight them,” said District Attorney Angel Myers McIlrath. “Nina had a voice in the courtroom, and today, justice was delivered.”

Cumbest’s family members and friends shared emotional victim-impact statements before the trial came to a close.

“I should’ve listened to my gut,” Nina’s father said.

The court also heard from Nina’s surviving nine-year-old daughter.

While WLOX has chosen not to identify her or share her testimony, Assistant District Attorney Carolyn Lewis released this statement: “Terrance McNaughton stole a beautiful soul who has impacted many, many lives. I am in awe of the strength shown by Nina’s daughter who spoke at the sentencing in this case. She demonstrated incredible bravery and poise in facing her mother’s killer.”

Outside the courtroom, Nina’s sister-in-law Sunny Cumbest described to WLOX how she felt as she faced McNaughton in the courtroom: “anger, all the feelings, trying to be respectful and know that we’re not here for him. We’re here for her and to do what’s right, regardless.”

Cumbest went on to say, “I feel like we got the best possible case. We’re still waiting on a few more details. But as of right now, we’re pretty satisfied with what we heard... She (Nina Cumbest) was a little Chihuahua. She was so feisty. She was a go-getter. She was a hard worker. She was a mom. She was a friend. She loved everybody. And we miss her.”

Members of McNaughton’s family were in attendance but declined to speak with WLOX.

If you or someone you love is a victim of domestic violence, you’re encouraged to reach out to agencies such as the Gulf Coast Center for Nonviolence at 228-435-1968 or 1-800-800-1396.

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