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Shooter pleads guilty before trial

By Melanie Ruberti

Melanie.ruberti@lagrangenews.com Shooter pleads guilty before trial

Shooter pleads guilty before trial

LaGRANGE — Instead of placing his fate in the hands of a jury, Coby Harden pleaded guilty to shooting and killing a man Monday morning in a Troup County Superior Courtroom.

The 26-year-old man was headed to trial charged with murder this week.

Instead, Harden pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter (instead of malice murder), possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and two counts of violating the street gang terrorism and prevention act, stated Troup County Assistant District Attorney Jim Powers.

Presiding Superior Court Judge Travis Sakrison sentenced Harden to a total of 30 years to serve 15 behind bars.

Harden was accused of shooting T’Quarius Holloway, 22, in the first block of Spring Street on March 4, stated LaGrange police.

Holloway died a day later at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, police stated.

The victim’s mother, sister and girlfriend were all present in the courtroom during the proceedings.

Harden was originally charged with malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, possession of firearm during commission of a felony, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and six counts of violation of the street gang terrorism and prevention act.

As a part of the plea negotiation, the charges of felony murder, aggravated assault and four counts of violating the street gang terrorism and prevention act were dropped against Harden, stated Powers.

According to the indictment, Harden is believed to be a member or known associate of the Bloods criminal street gang. The document stated he committed the murder with the intent to “maintain and increase his status and position in said gang.”

Harden allegedly killed Holloway less than five hours after being released from the Troup County Jail, said jail officials.

According to documents obtained by the Daily News, Harden had been behind bars awaiting trial for another violent crime — a shooting on April 8, 2015.

That case never went to trial because the victim refused to cooperate and there was insufficient evidence to prove Harden was the shooter, stated the Troup County District Attorneys Office.

According to documents obtained by the Daily News, Harden was released from the Troup County Jail about 6:15 p.m. on March 4. Roughly four hours and 43 minutes later — at 10:58 p.m. — he gunned down Holloway on Spring Street, shooting him multiple times, a police report stated.

Harden was indicted by a grand jury in May for malice murder, felony murder, aggravate assault, possession of a firearm during commission of a felony, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and six counts of violation of the street gang terrorism and prevention act.