|Trinity Standard - Local News
Stories Added - June 2010
Copyright 2010 - Polk County Publishing Company
Final suspect jailed in case which lead to sheriff’s death
Trinity Standard -
GROVETON – The fourth and final suspect wanted in connection with a 2008 incident that lead to the death of Trinity County Sheriff Brent Lee was in custody this week. Cole Brown, 24, of Cleveland was being held in a St. Charles, Mo. jail awaiting extradition on charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and tampering with physical evidence. According to Travis Haygood, criminal investigator with the 258th District Attorney’s Office in Groveton, Cole was picked up in Missouri by deputies with the U.S. Marshals Office. “We issued a warrant for Mr. Cole’s arrest back on Jan. 20 and got word that he had fled to Illinois, Missouri and places up north,” Haygood said. The investigator then contacted the U.S. Marshals Office for assistance and they were finally able to track the suspect down. Two others, Ricky Dalton Rains and Joey Grey also are charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and with tampering with evidence in connection with the case. A fourth suspect, Angela Fannin, is charged with tampering with physical evidence. Rains, Grey and Fannin were all arrested back in January on the charges. The aggravated assault charge stems from a drive-by shooting reported on Thanksgiving morning, Nov. 27, 2008, at a residence in the Pinecrest Estates subdivision south of Trinity. Later that morning, Lee was killed in a one-car accident at the entrance to Pinecrest Estates while on his way to help investigate the shooting. The tampering with evidence charges were filed in connection with an alleged cover-up launched by the suspects after the shooting. Specifically, Fannin is accused of trying to provide a false alibi for the other three in an attempt to convince investigators they were someplace other than the site of the drive-by shooting. According to investigators, the incident began during the early morning hours of Nov. 27, 2008, when sheriff’s deputies responded to a hit-and-run incident in Pinecrest. (Rains was identified as the driver of the hit-and-run vehicle and was subsequently tired and sentenced to two years probation for that crime.) Later on Nov. 27, 2008, a drive-by shooting occurred at the residence where the hit and run had occurred. Several rounds were fired from the street into the residence, with one striking a woman in the abdomen. The victim taken to East Texas Medical Center-Trinity and has since recovered from the wound. Following the shooting, the sheriff personally responded to the scene and arrived in time to follow the ambulance that transported the victim to the hospital. Later, while returning to the Pinecrest Estates residence, Lee lost control of his patrol car in the pre-dawn fog and the vehicle slammed into trees. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Although Rains was suspected of being involved in the drive-by shooting from the start, he and the other two suspects denied any knowledge and provided an alibi for their whereabouts at the time of the crime. While the case seemed to hit a dead end, Haygood and Texas Ranger Pete Mascunas of Lufkin continued to follow leads and conduct interviews looking for a break in the case. That break came early this year when one of the suspects was arrested along with some others in Huntsville on unrelated charges. Haygood and Mascunas interviewed some of the people in Huntsville they believed might have knowledge of the shooting. Based on new information obtained during those interviews, the district attorney’s office obtained arrest warrants on the suspects.