A teen who was 16 when he shot and killed a 57-year-old grandmother in Shannon was sentenced to life plus five years in prison on Monday.
Marvin Leedale Cronan, 17, pleaded guilty to a number of charges, including murder and conspiracy to commit robbery, in the August 2020 shooting death of Laura Regina Ross.
Cronan declined to speak prior to sentencing, only commenting on his education and that he understood the court proceedings.
“There’s nothing I can say at this moment to unburden the hurt that Ms. Ross’s family feels,” Floyd County Superior Court Judge Bryan Johnson said. “This was a completely senseless act that seems to have been a group of young people playing with things that have very, very real consequences.”
Of the four co-defendants, three were juveniles at the time of the crime. Only Tyree Kozel Daniels was technically an adult, at 17 years old.
Thomas Lane Dean Jr. and Selena Jenae Barnes pleaded guilty to charges related to the crime in October 2021. Neither Dean nor Barnes had been sentenced as of Monday. The trial for Daniels, the sole remaining co-defendant, is tentatively scheduled for March 9, according to court records.
The indictment in the case states that Barnes, Cronan and Dean conspired to rob the victim’s grandson Owen Dotson. Dotson had earlier stolen shoes from Dean and then later bragged on social media that he had come into some money, Assistant District Attorney Kevin Salmon said in a court hearing.
They decided to rob Dotson and split that money. Barnes brought Daniels into the group because he had a car and none of the others did, she testified earlier. Originally, the idea was to steal from or jump Dotson, but prosecutors said Daniels brought a .380 Smith & Wesson from his father’s storage box in Polk County and the plan got more serious.
Both Barnes and Dean gave testimony during their plea hearings. Cronan answered a few questions, acknowledging that Daniels had brought the gun but said that he was the only person on the porch when he fired the gun into the home.
When they arrived at Ross’s home at 126 Baker St., Dean, Cronan and Daniels got out of the car. Daniels handed Cronan the gun and told him “use it to scare them into not doing anything back,” Dean said during his plea in Oct. 2021.
They walked to the porch while Dean remained behind as a lookout.
“(Cronan) listened at the door and kicked the door,” Dean testified, “then fired into the house.” Cronan and Daniels ran back to the car but had to retrieve one of Cronan’s white Crocs that had fallen off.
“(Cronan) said she had seen his face, he had no choice,” Dean testified.
Over the next few days, Dean, Barnes and Cronan came up with a false alibi, and also talked about ways to pin the crime on Daniels. Several of the co-defendants originally told police the concocted story blaming Daniels, Salmon said in court.
They were all arrested several days later and have been held at the Floyd County Jail or regional youth detention centers since.