Two people are facing capital murder charges accused of killing a pregnant Kilgore woman in 2016 and setting her on fire.
A grand jury indicted Allen Lamont Sutton Jr., 33, of Kilgore, and Laneshia Lashae Young, 29, of Overton, on charges of capital murder of multiple persons in the disappearance and death of Sheryia Grant, 20, who was eight months pregnant when she was reported missing in August 2016. Her body has never been found.
Sutton, the father of Grant’s unborn child, in April 2019 was given the maximum 10 years in prison by a Rusk County jury after being convicted of tampering with physical evidence in the case. Young also was convicted of tampering by concealing a trunk liner missing from a car that Grant and Sutton shared.
According to Dec. 2 indictments in Smith County, around Aug. 20, 2016, Sutton and Young intentionally and knowingly caused Grant’s death by striking her with a blunt object and setting her on fire with accelerant and, at the same time, causing the death of Grant’s unborn child.
The indictments also state Sutton and Young could have struck Grant and set her on fire all while trying to kidnap her. The Texas Attorney General’s Office is prosecuting the case, according to the indictments.
Sutton was sentenced on the Rusk County tampering charge on April 17, 2019.
Chief Justice Josh Morriss III of the 6th Court of Appeals in Texarkana later upheld the 10-year sentence. The ruling said with the presented evidence, a jury could find Sutton removed and concealed a trunk liner, or cooperated with Young in such actions, to keep it out of any investigation into Grant’s disappearance.
The appellate court’s ruling goes into a detailed description of Sutton’s relationship with Young and souring relationship with Grant, including that, while Young was serving jail time, Sutton lived with and impregnated Grant, her cousin.
Morriss wrote that Ashley Odom — who lived with her boyfriend, Sutton and Grant at the time — testified that Grant told a friend she loved Sutton, who “seized the phone, choked Grant and told her he would kill her.” Young also assaulted Grant in Sutton’s presence three months before she disappeared, Odom testified.
Sutton and Grant jointly owned a car that was repossessed after Grant disappeared, the ruling said. The creditor noticed the car was missing a trunk liner, spare tire and jack, with traces of Grant’s blood found on the underside of the trunk’s lid.
The ruling said blood was found on the wiring from the trunk into the trunk’s lid, but that the blood was not tested. Morriss said in the ruling that the wiring looked like a person was “trying to escape the trunk.”
Sutton, who state records show is an inmate at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Hutchins unit in Dallas, is also awaiting trial out of Gregg County on a solicitation of capital murder charge, to which he entered a not guilty plea in 2019. A Gregg County grand jury indictment states Sutton on or about Aug. 1, 2016, attempted to “induce” Nicholas Williams to murder Grant.
Kilgore police in March 2017 said in a statement that a juvenile from Arp was taken into custody in Rusk County in connection with the disappearance of Grant, although the minor’s name has not been released.
Young was sentenced in July to eight years in prison on a charge of tampering with physical evidence in connection with the case. She is listed as an inmate at the Mountain View unit in Gatesville.