Mugshot of Laronte Jamal Nelms
Photo: Cobb County Sheriff's Office
Photo: Cobb County Sheriff's Office

Cobb man gets life for killing man who had ‘shown disrespect’ to gang

“An immature exchange of disrespect and name calling” is what led to Trinity Darnell Hardnett being shot and killed, said Cobb County prosecutor Jaret Usher.

Laronte Jamal Nelms was sentenced Monday to life in prison without parole for killing the 35-year-old man in 2014, according to a district attorney’s office press release.

Nelms, 27, is an associate of the “Good Product Team” gang.

GPT started up in Cobb in 2009 as a subset of the West Coast-based PIRU gang, Usher said in January 2017, when a dozen folks involved in the gang were found guilty of drug dealing.

They were found guilty of dealing heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana in the Favor Road area before expanding operations throughout Georgia and Tennessee.

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The incident that put Nelms in prison for life started at a Food Mart at Favor and Pat Mell roads.

Nelms and other gang associates were at the store on May 21, 2014 when an argument started between the group and Hardnett. They felt Hardnett had “shown disrespect” to an associate at the store, prosecutors said.

At 9:45 later that night, Nelms shot Hardnett four times in the leg and back at the nearby Edinborough Apartments, according to a warrant.

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From witnesses and surveillance video, investigators identified Nelms as the shooter. He was arrested six days later, according to jail records.

About a month after the shooting, Hardnett died from his injuries.

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After the weeklong trial, the jury deliberated an hour before finding him guilty of malice and felony murder counts along with gang violence charges, prosecutors said.

“This was nothing but a clear act of murder,” Cobb Superior Court Judge C. LaTain Kell said before sentencing Nelms to life plus 65 years in prison.

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