Trent Cobb trial

The capital murder trial of Tarabien “Trent” Latrent Cobb began Wednesday afternoon. Cobb is charged in connection to the April 2016 shooting incident at Mr. D’s Lodge that left Roderick Laman Nelms, Jadarrion Ladarkes Spinks and Recco Raymoine Cobb.

A Lee County jury found Tarabien “Trent” Latrent Cobb, of Auburn, not guilty of capital murder Saturday in connection to an April 2016 shooting at Mr. D’s Lodge in Auburn.

Cobb was found not guilty of the murder of Roderick Laman Nelms, 25, and Jadarrion “Doug” Ladarkes Spinks, 43, who were killed during a shootout at Mr. D’s Lodge in April 2016.

Recco Raymoine Cobb, 43, of Auburn, also was killed during the incident. Recco Cobb and Trent Cobb were cousins.

Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes says his office is disappointed with the outcome of trial.

“We are disappointed in the jury’s verdict but certainly respect their decision,” he said. “I am only sorry we could not find justice for the victims." 

Cobb’s attorney, Davis Whittelsey, said during closing arguments Friday that he believed there was not enough evidence to convict Cobb of capital murder.

“You have no evidence in a capital murder case that this gentleman, Trent Cobb, killed or shot anyone,” Whittelsey said. 

The jury deliberated for about nine hours.

Lee County Assistant District Attorneys Garrett Saucer and Cathey Berardi prosecuted the case.

Cobb was represented by Whittelsey and Andrew Stanley

The trial

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, prosecutors said.

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. 

Background

Auburn police responded to a call of shots fired at Mr. D’s Lodge in the 1200 block of Lee Road 83 at about 2 a.m. on April 23, 2016.

When officer arrived, gunfire was still being exchanged by multiple people, according to previous reports.

Once police secured the scene, they found Nelms, Spinks and Recco Cobb deceased.

A fourth victim with a non-life threatening gunshot wound was taken to East Alabama Medical Center for treatment prior to the officers’ arrival.

Trent Cobb was later arrested at a residence in Auburn with the assistance of the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force.

In January 2018, the charges against Trent Cobb were dismissed due to a motion filed by his attorney.

However, Cobb was indicted by a Lee County grand jury and was arrested on a Lee County Grand Jury indictment for one count of "capital murder – two or more persons," in October 2018. 

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