GROVETON, TX (KTRE) - A Trinity County jury has found a Trinity man guilty in connection to a drive-by shooting in November of 2008, which ultimately resulted in the sheriff's death.
"It was the shooting incident in the Pinecrest subdivision that the sheriff's department responded to as well as the Texas Rangers and my office. It's a result of that incident, there was a female dispatcher that was at home off duty and she received a gunshot wound to her abdomen area," said Trinity County District Attorney's Office Investigator Travis Haygood.
The jury sentenced Ricky Dalon Rains, 22, to 20 years in state prison.
The conviction comes following a two-year investigation by retired Texas Ranger Pete Maskunas, and Haygood. The investigation has resulted in four arrests, with three of them now convicted.
"We were traveling all across the state, collecting statements and interviewing multiple witnesses. We were fortunately able to recover the gun that was used in the incident," said Haygood.
The case against Cole Norman Brown is next in line for the prosecution.
Joey Leon Gray and Angela Fannin Gray have pleaded guilty for their part in the crimes and are now confined.
According to Haygood, the victim, a Trinity Police Department dispatcher, was shot when Rains shot into the residence.
Sheriff Brent Lee died in a car wreck which occurred while he was responding to the scene.
For Haygood, a third conviction means some closure in dealing with the loss of his close friend.
"We were friends. It was difficult for me to go out there and see that but just like he was during his job, we all have to do our part," said Haygood.
Assistant District Attorney Bennie Schiro has no doubt Rains' actions lead to the sheriff's death.
"I hold Ricky Rains responsible for what happened to the sheriff," said Schiro.
"If he had stayed at home and not returned back there with a gun I think that sheriff Lee would have still been with us today," said Haygood.
Haygood can't get his friend back but he can help bring justice to Lee's family, and those he served.