A Lee County jury began deliberations Friday afternoon in the capital murder trial of an Auburn man accused of killing two people at a 2016 party at Mr. D’s Lodge.
Tarabien “Trent” Latrent Cobb is charged with the capital murder of Roderick Laman Nelms, 25, and Jadarrion “Doug” Ladarkes Spinks, 43.
Recco Raymoine Cobb, 43, of Auburn, also was killed during the incident. Recco Cobb and Trent Cobb were cousins.
Both the prosecution and defense presented their closing arguments before the jury Friday afternoon during a trial that began nine days ago.
Lee County Assistant District Attorney Cathey Berardi addressed the jurors and told them that the ultimate issue is who shot the victims and whether the murder was intentional.
She told the jurors that it came down to a preliminary hearing testimony that witness Tevin Spinks gave. The testimony was read in court on Thursday.
“He was there,” Berardi said. “He saw it. And you’ve got to decide if you believe what Tevin Spinks said or not. And that’s your job.”
When the defense addressed the jurors, Cobb’s attorney, Davis Whittelsey, said that there is no evidence pointing to Cobb.
He said that the burden of proof is on the state and it must be without a shadow of doubt.
“You have no evidence in a capital murder case that this gentleman, Trent Cobb, killed or shot anyone,” Whittelsey said.
Whittelsey went through all the different types of evidence that the state had produced from the bullets, casings and testimonies and said the only thing that pointed to Cobbs was a witness who was not present in court.
He also addressed the wardrobe Cobbs had been wearing, citing what he said were inconsistencies such as the color on the bottom of Cobb’s shoes in a witness’ statement or lack of fingerprints and gun residue.
The state closed the statements.
Lee County Assistant District Attorney Garrett Saucer said that he wished he had more direct physical evidence linked to Cobb to produce to the jury, but that he did not.
“I wish I had more [evidence], but what I’ve given you, I submit is important,” Saucer said. “It is everything you need to go back and find the defendant guilty of capital murder.”
Testimony in Cobb’s capital murder trial began Sept. 11, which was nearly 3 ½ years since Nelms, Spinks and Recco Cobb were gunned down at Mr. D’s Lodge in Auburn.
Saucer said during opening arguments that he believes Trent Cobb is the shooter.
“Trent Cobb was outside. Trent Cobb walked up, shot Duke Nelms, feet away from him,” Saucer told the jury. “Then (Trent Cobb) turned his attention over to Duke Spinks who was out there fighting with his cousin.”
However, Whittelsey stated that there is no evidence to support that Trent Cobb is the shooter.
“There is no fingerprint on these… 700 pieces of evidence that belonged to Trent Cobb,” he said. “There is no blood on any firearm, on any projectile, any shell casing, on the ground, on any car, on his clothing, on his shoes, on his person from this event.”
Over the course of the trial, the jury heard testimony from numerous individuals, including incident witnesses, experts, such as medical examiners and firearm analysts, and detectives.
The jury also watched Cobb’s interview with Auburn police detectives following his arrest and charges, as well as body camera footage from officers on the scene.
Tevin Spinks was supposed to be present as one of the state’s key witnesses on Thursday. He was the only one who could testify he saw Cobbs shoot Nelms and Spinks.
When he did not appear, the defense, state and judge discussed whether Tevin Spinks’ preliminary testimony would be allowed.
Judge Christopher Hughes allowed the testimony, despite objections from the defense.
“I seen him shoot my cousin [Jadarrion “Doug” Ladarkes Spinks],” Tevin Spinks testimony said.
Tevin Spinks described the gun in the preliminary hearing as a pistol. He also said he saw Cobb shoot Nelms.
After the shooting began, Tevin Spinks testified he ran away and was shot with a shotgun.
A fight between Jadarrion Ladarkes Spinks, 25, and Recco Raymoine Cobb, 43, started in the lodge on April 23, 2016, and made it’s way outside.
A third man, Roderick Laman Nelms, 32, tried to step in to mediate the fight, previous reports stated. At this point, Tarabien “Trent” Latrent Cobb joined the fight with his cousin Recco Cobb and was carrying a pistol.
A fifth man, Roderick Edwards, appeared with two pistols, reports stated.
Trent Cobb is accused to firing at Nelms and Spinks, though the two of them were unarmed.
“I saw Recco raise his gun and I saw Trent shoot Duke (Nelms), and then Trent shot Doug (Spinks) in the side and then stood over him and shot him in the head,” said Auburn Police Division Detective, Dustin Holt, when reading Tevin Spinks' account during the preliminary hearing in 2016.
Spinks, Recco Cobb and Nelms were all declared dead when Auburn Police Department arrived on scene.
Trent Cobb was arrested at a residence in Auburn following the shooting with the assistance of the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force in April 2016.