Robert Grant found guilty of murder

Published 10:47 pm Saturday, September 2, 2006

After two years, the case of a robbery gome bad came to a conclusion Friday with one of the robbers found guilty of the murder in the death of his partner during the crime.

Pieced together from witness testimony, three individuals, including the convicted Robert Grant, decided to rob a residence at 123 Ed Reid Rd. in Pearl River County occupied by three males during the early morning hours between July 16 and 17 in 2004.

Two males, identified as Arthur Joshua and Grant, and a female accomplice, Shannon Landry, were involved in the burglary of a safe. Landry said she was to drive the getaway vehicle.

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When Landry dropped Grant and Joshua off at the wood line leading to the residence Landry said that she was instructed to come back in an hour, a time frame in question by the defense lead by Attorney Jim Gray.

The prosecution, conducted by Assistant District Attorneys Manya Creel Bryan and Doug E. Miller, did not make the hour long time frame an issue.

When Landry returned to pick up the pair an hour later only one, Grant, got back in the car, she said. Landry said that when questioned about the location of Joshua, Grant simply stated that they were separated in the woods after shots were fired and that Joshua was hurt.

She said she wanted to go back and help him, but Grant was unwilling, so they left. Landry said that Grant still had the gun he left with in his possession when he got back in the car and his coveralls had blood on them.

As they left Grant took off the coveralls in the car and threw them out the window along Highway 13, Landry said. Sheriff Joe Stuart would later testify that he found the coveralls in the area Landry had indicated.

Witnesses of the home said that Joshua burst into the home and hit Jerome Williams in the head with a 2×4 during the robbery, leaving him dazed. Because of this Williams could not testify to the presence of Grant during the crime.

Burglary victim Terry Wayne Adams had no problem identifying Grant at the scene since he and Grant had grown up together, he said. Adams was also a resident of the home and owner of the robbed safe.

Adams also testified that Landry was the only one besides residents of the home to know about the safe.

Adams said during his testimony that Grant came in his room with a red bandanna on his face, making no sound Grant motioned for Adams to get to the ground then open the safe. Adams said he complied and handed Grant the money from the safe and in addition to his wallet. At that point Adams said he was afraid for his life.

“I played the game, I rolled the dice and I lost. My life was going to end in lamens terms,” Adams said to Gray during the trial.

Adams then testified that Grant emptied the safe of its remaining contents, which included shot glasses, a glass tobacco pipe, a small amount of marijuana, a glass tray and a GPS unit, into a pillow case from the nearby bed and left in a hurry when Adams’ girlfriend, Tishma Peralta returned from a trip to the store for snacks.

Adams said that during the robbery shots were fired by Grant in the home but no witnesses said anything about a person being hit by those shots. However, by some means, Joshua’s fatal bullet injury entered his chest just under the left collar bone and the bullet passed through his chest cavity puncturing both lungs and his trachea, according to the coroner’s report.

After the bullet dealt the fatal blow it possibly bounced off the open front door and landed on the couch, where it was later found by investigators.

Two of the three shots reported by witnesses were recovered during the investigation by John Kramer, who at the time worked as an investigator for the Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department.

The one on the couch was tested and found to be coated with the blood of the deceased robber, Joshua.

After this initial investigation Kramer said he was going to leave and interrogate Landry who was waiting in Lumberton, until barking dogs prompted him to investigate the woodline where he found Joshua’s body.

All witnesses on the stand said they knew nothing of the death of Joshua until they were informed of it at the station during questioning.

Kramer even attested to the surprise each witness displayed when the news was broke to them.

Investigators did not locate another gun at the house or outside, however another home investigation was not conducted after discovery of the body, Kramer said. Capt. Eric Rocker said he did not investigate the inside of the home since Kramer had already done so, so he investigated the outside.

Kramer said he was briefed by the responding officer when he arrived about the robbery and shooting, no mention of a person being shot was ever reported by witnesses on the scene, Kramer said.

The items taken during the robbery were recovered outside along with two bloody masks and pools of blood next to drag marks in the ground leading to Joshua’s body, Rocker said.

Testimony by Brent Turby, who trains other departments on investigation outside the United States, stated that the blood on the coveralls was not consistent with Grant dragging the body, since none was found on the sleeves or in the getaway car.

All evidence presented during the trial drew the conclusion that Joshua was shot in the house, and for what ever reason, was dragged from a point in the driveway into the woods.

After hearing all the evidence, which was covered over a four day period, the jury deliberated for the last part of Thursday and the early part of Friday morning to finally come to the verdict that Grant was guilty of the murder of Joshua.

Sentencing will take place sometime next week.

A press release from the District Attorney’s office states that Grant had five prior convictions, burglary, possession of a controlled substance, two counts of sale of a controlled substance and arson.

“Any robbery committed with a fire arm is a dangerous crime. Any party involved can and sometimes do get shot and killed. Grant’s criminal career has effectively been brought to a permanent conclusion by this conviction.

“We want to commend the Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department for the work they did on this case. I also want to thank Manya Creel Bryan and Douglas E. Miller, two of my Assistant District Attorneys, for the job they did in this trial,” said 15th Circuit Court District Attorney Claiborne “Buddy” McDonald, which includes Pearl River County.