Man sentenced to life behind bars

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 24, 2016

LaGRANGE — A man found guilty of shooting and killing his friend in the parking lot of a liquor store will now start serving a life sentence with the possibility of parole.

Latrell Deshonta Harper, 24, of Lanett, Ala., was sentenced in a Troup County Superior Courtroom on Monday afternoon.

Harper was charged with felony murder, aggravated assault, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and possession of a firearm by a first offender probationer, said Coweta Judicial Circuit District Attorney Pete Skandalakis in an Oct. 5 news release.

Harper was accused of shooting Willis Bulger, 29, of West Point, during an argument in the parking lot of the West Point Spirits store on June 28, 2014.

Bulger later died from his wounds, said Chief Assistant District Attorney Monique Kirby.

A Troup County Superior Court jury found Harper guilty on Sept. 20, but Judge Blackmon decided to sentence the defendant at a later date, said Skandalakis.

The defendant was also on probation for a 2010 aggravated assault conviction, Kirby said. In that case, Harper was convicted of shooting at another person in West Point but did not hit them, according to Kirby.

The prosecutor recommended Harper serve life in front of presiding Troup County Superior Court Judge Dennis Blackmon.

Harper’s defense attorney, Jamie Thiel Roberts, asked her client only be sentenced to 20 years to serve eight years behind bars.

Blackmon ruled on the side of the state and gave Harper life with the possibility of parole, plus 10 years.

If Harper serves out his full sentence, it will total 40 years behind bars. He would be 64 when he is released from jail.

LaTrell Harper guilty of killing friend in parking lot

By Melanie Ruberti

Melanie Ruberti is a reporter with LaGrange Daily News. She can be reached at 706-884-7311, ext. 2156.