Crime

Sheriff: Home invasion 'all about dope'

JOHN FITZHUGH/SUN HERALDA Harrison County Sheriff's K-9 unit searches along Landon Road on Monday March 21, 2016 for a suspect in a home invasion that occurred earlier in the day.
JOHN FITZHUGH/SUN HERALDA Harrison County Sheriff's K-9 unit searches along Landon Road on Monday March 21, 2016 for a suspect in a home invasion that occurred earlier in the day. SUN HERALD

HARRISON COUNTY -- Three young men who committed a home invasion and shot a woman's dog had targeted a different home to steal illegal drugs, but the door was locked so they went to a neighboring house, Sheriff Troy Peterson said.

"They hit the wrong house," he said.

"It was all about dope. Stealing the dope and money."

The dope, he said, was cocaine, later seized from the home of the intended target, who also had $5,000 in suspected drug money.

The investigation resulted in a manhunt that lasted more than 10 hours and led to a total of seven arrests.

Six suspects are ages 18 to 20. The other is 17 and will be prosecuted as a juvenile.

Dog recuperates

The dog, a pit bull mix, was wounded as gunshots were fired while three suspects fled from a home on Pine Forest Road about 7 a.m. Monday. A woman had been outside her home and walked in on two young men wearing ski masks. Officials said she grabbed her gun as the suspects ran out one door and she and her dog ran out another door.

The dog has undergone surgery and is recuperating.

"The bullets didn't hit any vital organs," sheriff's Lt. Coley Judy said. "One shot went to the head, but it didn't hit the brain. Another hit his neck."

The woman had rescued her dog from an animal shelter, Judy said.

Last suspect arrested

Two of three suspects in the home invasion were arrested later Monday morning. They are Adam Lee Kennedy, 20, and Jonathan Hunter Wesley, both 20 years old.

A home invasion is prosecuted as a burglary of an occupied dwelling.

Harley Cole Beech, 18, was the one sought in a day-long manhunt that stretched north of Landon Road, the sheriff said. The search crossed woods and creeks and circled ponds and lakes.

Officials said Beech turned himself in to his family Monday night and his family turned him over to deputies.

"He was barefoot and was cut from his head to his feet from running through the woods," Peterson said.

'The wrong house'

Kennedy, Wesley and Beech had targeted the home of 19-year-old Austin James Parker, Peterson said.

Investigators later searched Parker's home and found 8 grams of cocaine in individual packages, $5,000 in cash and drug-related items, he said.

Investigators said the link to Parker led them to a juvenile's home on Houston Ladner Road. In his bedroom, they said, was cocaine, LSD, marijuana and alprazolam, the generic form of Xanax,

They searched Kennedy's home and allegedly found 161 grams of marijuana, he said.

They found guns hidden under a mobile home at Pine Ridge Park, leading to charges of hindering prosecution.

They also took two young women in for questioning after learning they'd received a text message telling them to come pick up Kennedy and Wesley, Peterson said.

Peterson said no further charges will be filed unless new information develops.

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