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Defendant convicted of 2019 gang slaying of Marine-to-be

Vernon Rhodes Jr.
Vernon Rhodes Jr.(Contributed)
Published: Jun. 17, 2022 at 4:51 PM EDT
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WAYNESBORO, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - A Burke County jury returned a conviction for part of a deadly gang feud that spread violence from Waynesboro to Sardis, District Attorney Jared Williams said Friday.

T’Rique McCullough was fatally shot on July 4, 2019, as he celebrated Independence Day with family and friends at the Briarwood Apartments, according to Williams.

In connection with that slaying, a Burke County on Thursday Jury found Vernon Rhodes Jr. guilty of malice murder, felony murder, possession of a firearm and four counts of Violation of the Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act, according to Williams.

Rhodes was sentenced to life in prison plus 25 years, according to Williams.

McCullough wasn’t in a gang but planned to join the Marine Corps, Williams said. However, Rhodes thought he was in a gang that was responsible for killing Tybrelyn Kelly on June 23, 2019, Williams said.

Coincidentally, a jury this week acquitted Malik Harris El of Kelly’s slaying, according to Williams.

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