Church elder for man accused of selling drugs to Alfred Wright speaks out

Shane Hadnot (Source: Jasper Co. Jail)
Shane Hadnot (Source: Jasper Co. Jail)
Alfred Wright (Source: Lauren Wright)
Alfred Wright (Source: Lauren Wright)
Johnton Gray (Source: KTRE Staff)
Johnton Gray (Source: KTRE Staff)

JASPER, TX (KTRE) - He's being called a “scapegoat,” used by the Sabine County Sheriff's Department to cover up a “poor investigation,” into the death of a Jasper man. But now, the man accused of selling drugs that led to the Jasper man's death, is being called a “man of God.”

Last Friday, a grand jury indicted Shane Dwayne Hadnot, 28, on charges of conspiracy and distribution of narcotics to Alfred Wright, whose body was discovered on Nov. 25, 2013 in a field in Sabine County. His death was ruled an accident due to a combination of drugs in his system including cocaine, methamphetamine, and Xanax.

“We don't want to see [Hadnot] get accused of something that he may necessarily not have done,” said Jasper House of Prayer Elder, Johnton Gray. “We don't have the details to that. All we do know is that we want justice. At the church standpoint, we're just going to support [Hadnot], support his family as they need us on the spiritual aspect and on the natural aspect.”

Gray said he has known Hadnot for 13 years and is shocked by his recent arrest.

“Shane is—definitely a born leader. So, he's that. He loves God. When he comes to church, he's on time. When the doors open, he's here. He's here earlier than most of the other people. Every time the service opens, he's here,” Gray said.

According to an indictment, an investigation into the cause of Wright's disappearance and death revealed involvement with Hadnot. Phone records, witness statements and drug evidence located during the search of Hadnot's car indicated Hadnot was selling cocaine to Wright. However, Gray said he cannot comment on the drug allegations against Hadnot.

“I've never seen him do anything outside of the way. But, I'm not with him all the time. So, I don't know. I see him at church. I see him at some stores and stuff, and we'll stop and talk; basketball, he goes out there and plays sometimes. I talk to him whenever he's playing ball. So, I've never personally seen it, but I can't account for him at all times,” Gray said.

The indictment, released by the Department of Justice, also revealed that during a two-day period before Wright's death, Hadnot and Wright had exchanged 20 text messages. It alleges that on Nov.7, 2013, Wright sent a text to Hadnot at 12:36 p.m. requesting to buy cocaine and other drugs from Hadnot.

Wright went missing on Nov. 7, 2013. On that day, he pulled into the CL&M grocery store along State Highway 87 in Hemphill. When his truck broke down, he made a call to his wife at 6:05 p.m. Several days later, pieces of Wright's clothing were found on a private land near his disappearance site.

Family members and friends found Wright's body in a wooded area of Sabine County. Despite the fact that authorities mounted ground and air searches for Wright, his body was found about approximately 25 yards from where he disappeared.

On Wednesday, Hadnot was in a Beaumont court for a detention hearing and agreed to remain in jail until a pretrial hearing next month.

His mother, Sharon Hadnot, expressed her concern with the way the investigation was handled.

“It's a mess. It's a mess. Why sentence an innocent person to die for something he didn't do. He ain't kill nobody. I understand he sold drugs. But, he ain't killed nobody and it's wrong. It's wrong for them to pin that murder on him, and we know who killed that that young man,” Hadnot said.

On Friday, Wright's parents held a rally outside the federal building in downtown Houston to share their feelings about the DOJ investigation.

“How did drugs cut his throat? How did drugs take his tongue out? How did drugs cut his ears off?” said Douglas Wright Sr. “There's something wrong with Sheriff [Tom] Maddox. There's something wrong with Hemphill law enforcement. There's something wrong with the Texas Rangers; Danny Young. I'm going to call the name. There's something wrong with Danny Young.”

“My biggest fear is leaving these culprits in office,” said Rosalind Wright. “And being afraid that my grandsons—my son left three seeds—I'm afraid for my grandsons. I'm afraid this may happen to them.”

If convicted, Hadnot faces from 20 years to life in federal prison for each charge.

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