Claiming they didn’t realize what they were getting themselves into when they agreed to participate in a robbery scheme that left a Mt. Leo man dead, the two young adults charged in the murder of Osbaldo Luna have been bound to the grand jury.
The adults, Nicholas D. McGee, 20, and Tyler Allen Jones, 19, both of Coffee County, were bound to the grand jury Tuesday on charges of criminal homicide.
McGee, who was on probation after being convicted on the charge of false imprisonment last summer, had his bond kept at $1 million. However, Jones, who has no prior criminal record and was a Motlow College student at the time of the crime, had his bond dropped to $750,000. They both remain inmates at Warren County Jail.
Also arrested for their involvement in the murder are four 17-year-olds. They are Charles Guess, Malik Scott, Melvin Horn and the confessed trigger man Sam Brinkley, all of Coffee County. They are to appear before Judge Bill Locke this Thursday for a transfer hearing as prosecutors seek to try them as adults. They are being held at a juvenile facility in Rutherford County.
According to McMinnville Police detective Todd Rowland, all six suspects gave statements about their involvement in the slaying of Luna.
“They said they were coming up here to hit a lick,” Rowland testified Tuesday, noting the term is slang for robbing a drug dealer.
Rowland said Brinkley had reportedly stolen drugs from Luna in the past and had rounded up guns from Guess and transportation from others, including Jones who had borrowed his mother’s Ford Explorer, to come here and rob Luna of his marijuana.
“The juveniles orchestrated the robbery,” Rowland testified, noting much of the plan was contrived at school that day.
Rowland noted their confessions were very similar, adding all six suspects gave statements about their involvement. Brinkley admitted he came in firing when they opened the door to the trailer where Luna was sleeping. A pile of spent shells was found inside by crime scene investigators, as was the bullet-riddled body of Luna.
“He was still in bed,” Rowland testified as lawmen suspect Luna was shot while he was still asleep.
Defense attorneys for the two adults maintain their clients did not know guns would be involved, nor that they were part of a robbery conspiracy.
“At best, my client was a very peripheral part,” said Jones’ attorney Eric Burch, noting his client never said he was a lookout or even a wheelman for the robbery.
Meanwhile, attorney Ryan J. Moore maintained his client, McGee, was only there out of concern for his cousin, Brinkley, hoping to keep him out of trouble.
“He was kind of like a big brother,” Moore maintained, noting his client is a former MTSU student and was literally a choir boy at his church, serving as a soloist and usher.
After hearing the evidence, Locke pointed out that by going along with the plan to commit a felony, McGee and Jones opened themselves up to something much larger when things went bad. For that reason, he bound them on the criminal homicide charges.