Crime

Home invasion getaway thwarted by mud, court document says

Police search for suspects from Monday morning home invasion

Harrison County Sheriffs Department and Gulfport Police search for suspects in a home invasion that happened in the early morning hours of Monday, March 21, 2016.
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Harrison County Sheriffs Department and Gulfport Police search for suspects in a home invasion that happened in the early morning hours of Monday, March 21, 2016.

HARRISON COUNTY -- A court document says three young suspects in a home invasion not only targeted the wrong house -- their getaway vehicle got stuck in mud.

Harley Cole Beech, 18, had been waiting for 20-year-old friends Adam Lee Kennedy and Jonathan Hunter Wesley, both 20, in a tan Chevrolet Tahoe when they returned to the stuck vehicle and all three fled on foot, said the affidavit of a Harrison County sheriff's investigator.

The Tahoe had been parked in an area near River of Life Church of God, about a mile from a home on Pine Forest Road, where the home invasion occurred early March 21.

Theresa Lero, the woman who lives there, told deputies she was had been outside and walked in to find strangers in the back of her house. They fled and she and her dog followed them out, the document said. The woman said they fired shots that struck her dog twice and also fired in her direction.

Investigators determined a shot struck the house and ricocheted, hitting a rubber boot near Lero, the affidavit said.

Officials have said the dog, a pit-bull mix, is recovering following surgery.

K-9 teams tracked the suspects, finding Kennedy and Wesley near the 14500 block of Canal Crossing Boulevard. Beech turned himself that night after deputies, police and K-9 teams had searched for him in woods for more than 10 hours.

Sheriff Troy Peterson has said the three had targeted a neighbor's home to commit an armed robbery "for dope," but the doors to that home were locked. Deputies searched the neighbor's home and seized 8 grams of cocaine and $5,000 in suspected drug money, the sheriff said.

That search led to a drug-distribution charge for 19-year-old Austin James Parker. Three others were arrested in related investigations.

Kennedy, Hunter and Beech face charges of burglary of an occupied dwelling, aggravated assault and animal cruelty.

Kennedy also faces a charge of possession with intent to distribute marijuana. He is held without bond at the Harrison County jail. Kennedy's bonds on pending charges of drive-by shooting and aggravated assault were revoked Tuesday.

Hunter also is held without bond. His bond on a pending auto-burglary charge was revoked.

Beech was released from jail Tuesday on bonds that total $125,000.

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