Men sentenced in Wayne Co. assault, victim not happy with plea deal

Men sentenced in Wayne Co. assault, victim not happy with plea deal

WAYNE COUNTY, Miss. (WDAM) - A high-profile assault case out of Wayne County has ended, but the victim says he isn’t pleased with the outcome.

Trevor Gray was viciously assaulted in the early morning hours of April 13, 2019, while at a party he was invited to attend.

Two Waynesboro men, Landon McCaa and Thomas Brown, approached Gray and then began savagely beating him. The attack was caught on a camera and then posted on social media before later being taken down.

In that video, it shows one of the men, allegedly McCaa, unexpectedly punching Gray in the face as he was walking in the porch area of the house. After the initial punch, the attacker forced Gray to the ground and then repeatedly punched him in the head. Brown then joined in on the beating, but that portion of the attack wasn’t captured on camera.

The fight was later broken up and Gray was able to leave without further incident.

The attack left his jaw broken, and his mouth had to be wired shut for about six weeks during rehabilitation.

McCaa and Brown were arrested and booked into the Wayne County Adult Detention Center. During their initial appearance, McCaa told Wayne County Justice Court Judge Charles Chapman that drinking and a misunderstanding led to the beating.

The case was scheduled to go to trial with Wayne County District Attorney Kassie Coleman prosecuting the case, but she recused herself due to a conflict of interest.

The 12th Circuit Court District Attorney’s Office was appointed to take over the case and Assistant District Attorney Clay Cranford was appointed as the lead prosecutor.

On Friday, a plea recommendation was made by the state which was then accepted by both defendants.

As a result, both McCaa and Brown pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and were sentenced to 15 years with the Mississippi Department of Corrections with one year and six months to serve and 13 years and six months suspended.

Both men must also serve five years of post-release supervision and pay $4,327 in restitution to Gray.

That plea deal is now being contested by Gray, who says he wasn’t notified it was going to take place and feels let down by the prosecution.

In a statement released to WDAM, Cranford said the District Attorney’s office notified Gray of three hearings which he decided not to attend.

The statement reads in part is as follows:

“During the course of this prosecution, there were at least three (3) court appearances before the Wayne County Circuit Court concerning this case: a status conference, a motion hearing where I successfully defended approximately twenty (20) defense motions, and a plea and sentencing hearing.  While the victim was notified well in advance of these court dates, he chose to attend none of them.

With regards to the restitution ordered, after repeated requests to the victim, my office received medical bills totaling $11,474.20.  The Mississippi Victim’s Compensation Fund refunded the victim $7,146.45, leaving a balance due of $4,327.70.  As a result, the plea recommendation reflected that a payment in this amount be made by the defendants on the date of their plea and sentencing in order to make the victim whole.  We received information today that Mr. Gray was awarded another $339.28 dollars from the Victim’s compensation Fund. These figures do not take into account the $16,415 that the victim has already received from the public as a result of his Go-Fund Me account.  If there are any other outstanding medical bills, they were not submitted to this office.

With respect to the plea recommendation made by the State of Mississippi, following a telephone conference with the victim, he was originally satisfied and in agreement with a sentence of fifteen (15) years in the Mississippi Department of Corrections with two (2) years to serve and the remaining thirteen (13) years on post release supervision.  In addition, the victim requested full restitution; however, at that time, had presented no proof for reimbursement.  In negotiating the plea, the State, in its discretion, agreed to a sentence that was substantially similar with the exception that the defendants serve a year and a half in the Mississippi Department of Corrections as opposed to two (2) years with restitution to be paid in full at the time of the plea.  The victim informed our office that he would not be attending the plea or sentencing and that he did not agree.  His objections to the plea recommendation were brought to the Court’s attention by the State during the sentencing.  The Court noted the victim’s objection and proceeded to sentence the defendants accordingly.  The victim chose not to be present.”

According to the District Attorney’s office, Gray’s civil lawsuit against the defendants still pending.

Copyright 2021 WDAM. All rights reserved.