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No Verdict Yet in Smith Trial

  • Gregory Smith, of Springfield, Vt., talks with people during a break during Smith's trial in Windsor Superior Court in White River Junction, Vt., on Feb. 12, 2018. Smith allegedly shot and killed 37-year-old Wesley Wing near Jake’s Market on South Street in Springfield. (Valley News - Carly Geraci) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.



Valley News Staff Writer
Tuesday, February 13, 2018

White River Junction — The jurors tasked with examining evidence in Gregory Smith’s second-degree murder trial deliberated for more than 4½ hours on Monday before the judge released them for the night.

Windsor Superior Court Judge Timothy Tomasi’s decision to send the jury home at 8 p.m. came after jurors asked the court to replay testimony from two witnesses regarding the angle that Smith pulled his car into Cheryl Lane in Springfield, Vt., to confront the man he eventually killed on the evening of April 15, 2015.

Around 6 p.m. that night, Smith shot and killed Wesley Wing at the intersection of Cheryl Lane and South Street in what Smith said was self-defense. Prosecutors, however, said Smith fatally wounded Wing execution-style after Wing and Smith’s girlfriend, Wendy Morris, got into an argument.

The jury will resume deliberations this morning after it listens to portions of Jeffrey Perkins and Joseph Alily’s testimony.

Perkins and his wife pulled out of Jake’s Market on South Street when Smith turned onto Cheryl Lane, according to Perkins’ testimony. Alily watched the shooting unfold from about a football field away, and testified that he saw Smith turn and park on Cheryl Lane, a short dead-end road that intersects with South Street near Springfield High School.

The question is related to the angle at which Smith parked, but jurors didn’t indicate why they wanted to review that evidence. During closing arguments, Assistant Attorney General Adam Korn said police recovered projectiles from the side of South Street opposite where the shooting took place.

Smith, who testified in his own defense, told jurors he pulled straight into Cheryl Lane.

That question was the second one the jury asked throughout its deliberations, which started at 3:15 p.m.

Around 5 p.m., jurors asked the court if they could learn the results of DNA swabs police took from inside the vehicle Smith was in when he fired the shots. The results weren’t aired in court though, so Tomasi denied the request, saying jurors must decide the case based on the evidence presented during trial.

Before the jury got the case, Tomasi gave jurors instructions on the elements of second-degree murder. Tomasi also instructed jurors on the lesser included offenses of involuntary manslaughter and voluntary manslaughter.

Monday marked the fifth day of Smith’s trial on single count of second-degree murder. He has pleaded not guilty.

Smith contends he shot Wing in self-defense after Wing attacked him in his parked car, punching him at least twice before Wing pinned Smith’s head to the steering wheel.

Police in an earlier affidavit said the argument between Wing and Morris started over Morris’ alleged drug use in the neighborhood, but that was never introduced at trial.

Prosecutors told a much different version of events, saying Smith set up his “kill shot” and fired five rounds at Wing, who they say was walking north toward Jake’s Market at the time.

During closing arguments, Assistant Attorney General Ultan Doyle said the evidence in the case is consistent with a man who tried to hide a murder.

After he fired the shots, Smith returned to his Lark Lane apartment to grab his cellphone and some drugs before fleeing to Keene, N.H., Doyle said.

On his way, he disassembled the firearm he used to shoot Wing and threw it, along with the holster, out the window, according to Smith’s testimony. The weapon was never recovered.

Once in Keene, prosecutors said, he cleaned the interior of the vehicle that he was in when the shooting took place, switched cars and fled to a rural camp in South Londonderry, Vt., where he evaded capture by police for five days.

“He doesn’t wait for the police to show up because he knows he has murdered Wesley,” Doyle told jurors. “Everything he does from that point on is consistent with him shooting Wesley Wing. ... Nothing is consistent with shooting in self-defense.”

He added: “He is hiding his tracks, he is trying to distance himself from the shooting and he is trying to get rid of anything that will connect him to the murder of Wesley Wing.”

Prosecutors also said there wasn’t enough time between when Smith turned onto Cheryl Lane and when the shots were fired for an attack to take place inside Smith’s vehicle.

But defense attorneys argued that the prosecution’s timeline was off and that there was plenty of time for the altercation to have occurred how Smith claims it did.

“Don’t let the state turn Mr. Smith into something he’s not. He’s not a murderer,” public defender Jordana Levine told jurors.

Smith’s actions after the shooting were consistent with a man who was “panicked” and wanted to get to a place where he felt safe, Levine said.

In its closing, the defense picked apart several witnesses’ testimony, including Alily.

Prosecutors said Alily’s testimony showed that Wing was walking toward Smith’s vehicle and was about four to 10 feet away when Smith fired the shots, but defense attorneys said Alily wavered on the actual distance.

Public defender Brian Marsicovetere also focused on New Hampshire Chief Medical Examiner Jennie Duval’s testimony, saying she too waffled in her opinion of whether there was an injury to one of Wing’s fingers that could be consistent with a struggle inside the vehicle.

“ ... She conceded ... then said I don’t want to speculate,” Marsicovetere said, his voice elevated. “It was surreal.”

Marsicovetere repeatedly said Wing was “on a tear” that afternoon.

On redirect, Korn, a prosecutor, spoke about the direction that the bullets entered Wing’s body. Two entered his torso from the front, while a third entered his back and exited his front. The other two shots hit each hand.

“If you’re shooting someone in close range at rapid succession ... you would expect a tight grouping,” Korn said. “...That’s not how it happened.”

A verdict is expected today.

Jordan Cuddemi can be reached at jcuddemi@vnews.com or 603-727-3248.