Montrell Deshawn Troutman, a 38-year-old man from Miami, Florida, was sentenced to 40 years for the killing of Leric Merriweather, which occurred on June 6, 2015, in Edgefield County. The sentence was imposed on Friday, October 20, 2017, by Judge Craig Brown, following a week-long jury trial. Troutman was found guilty of Voluntary Manslaughter, Assault and Battery of a High and Aggravated Nature, Assault and Battery – First Degree, and Possession of a Weapon during the commission of a Violent Crime.
This marks the third homicide trial in the Eleventh Circuit during the past two weeks. On October 13, an Edgefield County jury found Steven Barnes guilty of murder and he was sentenced to life without parole. On October 19, a Lexington County jury returned a guilty verdict in the murder trial of Ricky Esaw and he was also sentenced to life without parole. Solicitor Rick Hubbard stated, “This is a reflection of our commitment and perseverance in the prosecution of homicide cases in the Eleventh Circuit.”
Merriweather, age 29, was killed in the Buncombe area in the city limits of Edgefield. Earlier on the day of the homicide, Merriweather was having a cookout for his family and his two young sons. The two children were outside playing when a verbal altercation took place. Merriweather demanded that everyone leave his house including Troutman. Approximately four hours later, Troutman obtained a gun and then confronted Merriweather.
Merriweather was in his vehicle along with two additional victims, Keith Mathis and Carlo Harris, when he was approached by Troutman at a friend’s house. The three victims exited their vehicle as Troutman racked a round in his gun. After words were exchanged, Troutman pulled his gun a second time and shot Merriweather in the chest. The bullet pierced his lungs and resulted in his death shortly thereafter.
Troutman then turned the gun towards Merriweather’s two friends, shooting at them as they ran away. Harris was struck in the leg. Mathis, fortunately, was uninjured in the shooting. Troutman then left the scene and went to a friend’s house where he boasted that he just “got 2” – a reference to his belief that he killed two people. Troutman then hid in the woods for nearly an hour. Eyewitness testimony was crucial in this case, along with the quick response of law enforcement to the crime scene.
The investigation was led by the Edgefield Police Department with the assistance of the Edgefield County Sheriff’s Office and the Johnston Police Department. “We appreciate the efforts of our law enforcement partners during the course of this investigation,” commented Solicitor Hubbard.
Family members of Merriweather, including his sons, ages 5 and 8, were present during the trial and spoke at the sentencing hearing. Assistant Solicitor Sutania Radlein and Senior Assistant Solicitor Al Eargle prosecuted the case for the Eleventh Circuit Solicitor’s Office.
Troutman has a prior criminal record which includes convictions for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, battery, and possession of cocaine in the State of Florida.