An Enterprise man charged with murder has had his probation on a previous conviction revoked.
Laquinton Decraig Sheridan, 37, will serve the rest of his previous sentence in state prison while awaiting court action on the most recent charge of murder that he faces.
Twelfth Judicial Circuit Judge Henry “Sonny” Reagan ruled July 8 that Sheridan “violated the rules and conditions of probation by committing the offense of murder.”
Sheridan has been in Coffee County Jail since his arrest Feb. 21 for the Feb. 15, 2020, shooting death of Jason Montgomery at the Hidden Glen Apartments on Cheyenne Drive in Enterprise.
Sheridan had been on probation for less than one year before being arrested by Enterprise Police and charged with Montgomery’s murder. “This court bristles at knowing the defendant committed this brutal act only nine months after being placed on probation,” Reagan wrote in his ruling. “The defendant will never be a success on probation and should be placed with the Alabama Department of Corrections to complete his original sentence.”
Regan’s ruling came after a day of testimony at the Enterprise Courthouse July 7 by Sheridan’s friend who was with him the night of the shooting and Enterprise Police Officers who investigated the case.
Austin Parker told the court that he, Sheridan and two women drove from an Enterprise hotel they were staying at to the Hidden Glen apartment complex in Enterprise to “party” in the evening hours Feb. 14.
“It’s been so long ago,” was Parker’s response when Twelfth Judicial District Assistant District Attorney Mary Katherine Head asked him multiple questions in an effort to confirm accounts of two eye witnesses to the chain of events before and after the shooting. “It happened so fast. It was dark,” Parker answered, conceding that he had consumed enough alcohol during the evening to be “feeling pretty good.”
Parker told the court he could not remember the time he arrived at the “party” apartment, how long he stayed there or the name of the person hosting the party. Parker said he could not remember the name of the woman he took to the party but told the court that he had worked with that woman at one time and on the day of the shooting was sharing a hotel room with her.
Parker said that at the Hidden Glen Apartments, outside in the parking lot, Sheridan fired a weapon multiple times in the direction of an apartment. After the shooting Parker said he, Sheridan and the two women drove to another apartment complex where Sheridan disposed of the weapon used in the shooting and retrieved another weapon.
Enterprise Police Detective Troy Baker told the court that he arrived at the Hidden Glen Apartments in the early morning hours of Feb. 15. He said he saw Montgomery lying outside the apartment building, shot in the chest. The man was later pronounced dead, Baker said.
Baker said he interviewed two eye witnesses who had been standing with Montgomery when he was shot, apparently randomly. The eye witnesses described the shooter as a black man wearing a light colored, long sleeve shirt or hoodie, Baker said.
Baker said that a review of the Hidden Glen Apartments complex security camera video footage revealed a dark colored SUV, with a damaged front fender, driving up to the apartment and leaving after the shooting.
A police search for the SUV resulted in a traffic stop by Enterprise Police Detective Gerard Dube who told the court that he interviewed Parker, Sheridan and the two women who were all occupants of the vehicle. One of the women told him that the four had gone to the Hidden Glen Apartments to make a drug deal. After leaving the apartment building, Sheridan fired shots towards the building, Dube said that he was told.
When questioned by law officers after the traffic stop, Sheridan denied being involved in the shooting but said that he went to Hidden Glen Apartments to make a drug deal, the police officers told the court.
Head showed a photograph taken from the hotel front desk security camera where Sheridan, Parker and the two women were staying the night of the murder.
In that picture, Sheridan is seen wearing the same type light colored long sleeved shirt worn by the man on the security camera video footage moments after the murder and the same type of shirt described by the two eyewitnesses who had been with Montgomery at the time of his shooting death.
Calling the court testimony, a “hodge podge of hearsay,’” Sheridan’s attorney James Tarbox questioned why no weapon was ever found. He questioned the existence of the white long sleeved shirt or hoodie. He also suggested that the quality of the video footage was such that the person pictured could be any person with dark skin and a light colored long sleeved shirt.
Tarbox also noted that there was no timestamp on the video footage presented as state’s evidence and multiple “jumps” in the video that was shown to the court. “There is no timeline of when things actually happened,” he said. “There are too many issues for the court to hang its hat on, a handful of circumstances that the state is trying to weave together.”
Calling Parker’s testimony “inconsistent, evasive and sometimes not credible,” Reagan said that he
considered evidence such as security camera video footage, photographs and other witness testimony to weigh Parker’s truthfulness.
Reagan noted that the photograph taken from the hotel security camera on the night of the shooting death showed Sheridan “wearing a light colored long sleeve shirt, the same type shirt worn by the man shown on the Hidden Glen Apartments’ security camera footage moments after the murder, the same type of shirt worn by the gunman seen by the two women that witnessed the murder.”
Reagan said in his ruling that testimony showed that Sheridan violated rules and conditions of probation to include being in possession of a firearm and engaging in illegal drug activity. “These additional offenses, however, are not the basis of the court’s decision here,” he said adding that he “is reasonably satisfied that (Sheridan) violated rules and conditions of probation by committing the offense of murder.”