By Kathy Jefcoats
MCDONOUGH — The parents of a shooting suspect gasped in shock Friday morning when they learned the victim died overnight and their son will be charged with murder.
Ronnie Cantrell Sr., 68, died Thursday after being shot in the chest Tuesday night, the Henry Daily Herald has learned. Henry County police said Cantrell and his son, Ronnie Cantrell Jr., were shot when they interrupted four suspects burglarizing their Stockbridge home. Police said the four were looking for guns and money.
Cantrell Jr., 42, was shot in the right hand and lost two fingers, according to the arrest warrant.
The first suspect, Brandon Alexander Terryhall, 20, of McDonough was arrested Wednesday night. The second suspect, Trey Michael Cota, 21, of Atlanta was arrested Thursday morning and made his first appearance in Henry Magistrate Court Friday. His parents were in court when Judge Wes Shannon announced Cantrell Sr. died overnight and Cota will be charged with murder.
"The one charge of aggravated assault against Ronnie Cantrell Sr. has been upgraded to murder," Shannon told Cota, who didn't visibly react.
When Cota returned to his cell, his parents and a neighbor couple who accompanied them, left the courtroom. Outside the building, Cota's father, who declined to give his name, expressed condolences to the Cantrell family but defended his son.
"We took the news very hard," he said of Cantrell's death. "We send condolences to the family and we are so sorry this happened. But my son was not around when this happened. My son had nothing to do with this."
The neighbors, who also declined to give their names, said they support Cota.
"The neighbors love him very much and we are here to support him," said the woman.
Police continue to look for Robert Price, 18, and a man known only as Terrence. Terryhall, who was also injured in the shooting, remains in the Henry County Jail without bond. All are expected to be charged with murder.
Terryhall told Chief Magistrate Robert Godwin Thursday that he's hired his own attorney. Cota's father told Shannon Friday he's hired one to represent his son during the Oct. 4 preliminary hearing. Bond can be set only by a Superior Court judge.
A black 2013 Kia Rio police believed was used by the suspects and was seen inside Lexington Park subdivision has been recovered, said police.
Anyone with information to the case should contact Detective Joe Clark at 770-288-7242 or 911.