Court gavel

Rashaud Montel Crosby Sr. of Laurel, aka Rashad Drake, pleaded guilty to second degree murder Friday in Jones County.

Circuit Court Judge Dal Williamson sentenced Crosby to 40 years in prison with 23 years to serve and five years of post-release supervision. Crosby is currently serving an 11-year term for aggravated assault, so the time he received Friday will be tacked on to his previous sentence, according to Assistant District Attorney Dennis Bisnette.

The original charge against Crosby was capital murder and his trial was set for September 23, before he decided to enter a plea. He was arraigned in February 2017, and his first trial date was put on the calendar for August of that year; however, that trial date was postponed. Crosby had a psychiatric evaluation by Dr. Criss Lott of Ridgeland, and the evaluation showed he was competent to stand trial.

According to court records, Crosby killed his son, Rashaud Crosby Jr., on December 3, 2015. The child was not even a year old.

In another case Friday, charges against Thomas Scott Murray were dropped by the State during the trial after witnesses could not establish that the defendant broke into a house. Bisnette made the motion to Judge Williamson to dismiss the case after the testimony of several State witnesses did not prove Murray broke into a house on North 5th Avenue in Laurel.

Judge Williamson accepted the motion, telling the jurors that in every burglary case one essential element that the State must prove is that “breaking” occurred – meaning that the accused forced himself into the dwelling by pushing a closed door open, used an implement like a screwdriver to gain entrance, or even did something as simple as turning a door knob to gain entrance. That element was not proven against Murray Friday.

“Under the law, I have to dismiss this case due to the absence of any evidence that indicates a ‘breaking’ on his part,” the judge stated to the jurors.

Judge Williamson thanked the jurors for their time and attentiveness during the trial, before releasing them from their duty.

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