Two Mississippi men sentenced after pleading guilty in case where man was shot in head, had wallet and truck stolen

Published 10:52 am Thursday, December 9, 2021

Two Mississippi men were sentenced after pleading guilty to shooting a Mississippi man in the head and stealing the victim’s wallet and truck.

District Attorney W. Crosby Parker announced Wednesday that Tristan James Huacuja, age 26 and Kenneth Ray Patterson, Jr., age 49, both of Picayune, Mississippi, pleaded guilty earlier to aggravated assault and grand larceny. Circuit Court Judge Christopher Schmidt sentenced both Huacuja and Patterson to 30 years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections.

Police began investigating when a friend of the victim discovered the victim lying underneath his mobile home, suffering from a gunshot wound to the head. The victim was airlifted to a Mobile hospital where he underwent surgery and months of therapy. The victim was able to identify Huacuja and Patterson as the men responsible for the shooting.

The victim told police that Patterson, whom he had known for years, arrived at his residence on foot with Huacuja. The three men went inside the residence, and while inside, he and Patterson became involved in an argument and Patterson pulled out a pistol. The victim and Patterson struggled over the pistol, and when the victim began to get the pistol away from Patterson, Huacuja shot him one time in the head. The victim had no memory of what happened after he was shot, but his wallet, keys, and truck were missing from the residence.

Investigators with the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office located the victim’s stolen truck abandoned on the side of I-10. Patterson was arrested approximately ten days later in Pearl River County in the company of another co-defendant, Nicole Lombardo.

“Lombardo admitted to picking Patterson up from the side of the interstate, and that Patterson told her that things went bad with the victim, that Huacuja shot him, and that they took the victim’s truck to get away. Lombardo was charged as an Accessory After-the-fact to Aggravated Assault and will be sentenced on December 13, 2021. When Huacuja was arrested, he gave a statement consistent with the statement of the victim, and admitted to shooting the victim and taking the victim’s truck with Patterson,” said Assistant District Attorney Ian Baker, who prosecuted the case.

Hucuja pleaded guilty to one count of Aggravated Assault and one count of Grand Larceny and was sentenced to the maximum sentence on each count to run consecutively for a total of 30 years. Patterson pleaded guilty to one count of Accessory After-the-fact to Aggravated Assault and one count of Grand Larceny, and was sentenced to the maximum sentence on each count to run consecutively for a total of 30 years. Judge Schmidt also ordered that Patterson’s 30-year sentence will run consecutive to the prison sentences he is currently serving on convictions from Pearl River County and Jackson County.

“The sentences handed down by the court today are appropriate given the injuries the victim sustained and the actions of the defendants. The victim showed great courage working with law enforcement and we hope these convictions will bring some closure to the victim as he continues his healing,” Parker said.