Teen sentenced to 30 years in murder of Mercer County High schoolmate

Trent Easterling
Trent Easterling

A Mercer County teen who was convicted of killing another boy in 2016 faces the next three decades in prison.

Trent Easterling, who was 16 when he shot and killed 17-year-old Tristan Cole of Harrodsburg, was sentenced to 30 years in prison on Tuesday, WKYT-TV reported.

A jury convicted Easterling, now 18, of murder last month, recommending the 30-year sentence, court records show.

Easterling had asked the court to grant him a new trial, arguing that a videotape of a conversation he had with his mother and grandfather that was shown during the proceedings should have been suppressed.

The Harrodsburg Herald reported that the video showed Easterling telling his mother and grandfather that Cole had “threatened one of my friends” and shaking his head “no” when asked if anyone else was involved.

Both Easterling and Cole were students at Mercer County High School.

Cole’s body was found along Deep Creek Road on the night of April 13, 2016. He had been shot multiple times the previous night, state police said. Easterling was arrested and charged within 24 hours.

Zachary Lay, who was 18 at the time of the murder, pleaded guilty last year to tampering with physical evidence.

Meagan Sims, also 18 at the time, was also charged with tampering with physical evidence. Her case is still pending.

Lay and Sims were also students at Mercer County High School.