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Jury Finds Man Guilty in Deadly 2015 Springfield, Vt., Shooting

  • Sheila Wing, widow of Wesley Wing, wipes away a tear during an interview after hearing the verdict for the trial for Gregory Smith, of Springfield, Vt., who was found guilty by jurors of voluntary manslaughter in the shooting death of Wing at Windsor Superior Court in White River Junction, Vt., on Feb. 13, 2018. The jurors were unable to reach a verdict on the second-degree murder charge related to the shooting that took place in April 2015. (Valley News - Carly Geraci) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Gregory Smith, of Springfield, Vt., left, hugs attorney Jordana Levine after hearing the verdict which found Smith guilty by jurors of voluntary manslaughter in the shooting death of Wesley Wing in Windsor Superior Court in White River Junction, Vt., on Feb. 13, 2018. After six hours of deliberation over the course of two days, jurors were unable to reach a verdict on the second-degree murder charge related to the April 2015 shooting. (Valley News - Carly Geraci) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Jacob Wing, left, and Terry Wing, of Springfield, Vt., wait outside the courtroom during the final hours of deliberation during the trail for Gregory Smith, of Springfield, who was found guilty by jurors of voluntary manslaughter in the shooting death of Wesley Wing at the Windsor Superior Court in White River Junction, Vt., on Feb. 13, 2018. Over the course of two days, jurors deliberated for a total of six hours. (Valley News - Carly Geraci) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Wesley Wing, of Springfield, Vt., in an undated family photograph. (Family photograph)



Valley News Staff Writer
Tuesday, February 13, 2018

White River Junction — Jurors on Tuesday found Gregory Smith guilty of voluntary manslaughter in the April 2015 shooting death of Wesley Wing in their neighborhood near Springfield (Vt.) High School.

The 32-year-old Smith showed little reaction when the jury forewoman announced the verdict following more than six hours of deliberation over two days in Windsor Superior Court.

Smith faced a single count of second-degree murder, but jurors were allowed to consider the two lesser included offenses of voluntary or involuntary manslaughter.

Judge Timothy Tomasi first asked the forewoman for the jury’s verdict on the count of second-degree murder, to which she replied, “unable to decide.”

But jurors reached a “guilty” verdict on voluntary manslaughter, an offense that factors in sudden passion or provocation.

Sheila Wing, Wing’s widow, sat stoically between her eldest daughter, Brooke, and her mother-in-law, Terry Wing, when the verdict was read.

After several seconds, Sheila Wing reached up and wiped a tear from her eye while Terry Wing bent over, sobbing, before exiting the courtroom on the arm of a victim’s advocate.

Smith turned and hugged one of his attorneys before exiting the courtroom through a back door.

“It’s not what I expected,” Sheila Wing said afterward. “It is not the closure that my family has been praying for.”

Brooke Wing, 19, struggled to find words. “I am just disappointed, really disappointed,” she said while fighting back tears. “I really don’t have any other words — just pure disappointment.”

Ultan Doyle and Adam Korn, the assistant attorneys general who prosecuted the case, both declined to comment on the verdict in person on Tuesday.

Later in the day, their office issued a statement through a spokeswoman.

“The Attorney General’s Office respects the jury’s process and their decision. We are glad justice was served for the victim today,” the statement read.

Public defenders Brian Marsicovetere and Jordana Levine said they had no comment on Smith’s conviction.

Several jurors also declined to comment when reached hours after the verdict was delivered. Messages left for the forewoman were not returned.

The jury of seven men and five women heard evidence over the course of five days in the White River Junction courthouse. They began deliberating around 3:15 p.m. on Monday before returning the verdict around 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday.

Throughout the six-day trial, Smith contended he acted in self-defense when he fired five shots at the 37-year-old Wing at the intersection of Cheryl Lane and South Street in Springfield, Vt., after Wing and Smith’s girlfriend got into an argument on April 18, 2015.

Police have said that Wing confronted Smith’s girlfriend that evening about her alleged drug use in the neighborhood, but that information didn’t come out during trial.

Smith took the stand in his own defense, saying Wing attacked and punched him while he was seated in his car.

But prosecutors claimed Smith shot Wing in an “execution” style following the argument with Smith’s girlfriend.

They also said he went to great lengths to cover up his tracks after the shooting, including throwing the firearm out the window of his car and fleeing to a remote campsite in South Londonderry, Vt., where he evaded capture for five days.

Smith hasn’t been sentenced. A presentencing investigation report will be completed, and a status conference will be held in 80 days, the judge said.

Smith faces up to 15 years in prison. He has been incarcerated since his April 23, 2015, arrest, so he will have several years of pretrial credit.

A second-degree murder conviction would have carried a sentence of 20 years to life.

Based on jury instructions, jurors appear to have found that Smith shot and killed Wing under “extenuating circumstances.”

“A killing is voluntary manslaughter, as opposed to murder, if Mr. Smith lost control because of the sudden passion or adequate provocation, if he did not regain control before the alleged killing, and if a reasonable person in the same situation would not have regained control within that same time,” the jury instructions said.

Smith, who grew up in Chester, Vt., and went to schools in Bellows Falls, has an extensive criminal record, including 24 misdemeanor convictions and eight felony convictions, including Tuesday’s, according to court documents.

Two of his prior convictions are for lying to the police, prosecutors said during closing arguments on Monday.

Wing, a father of four, will be remembered as a hard worker and a family man, his widow said on Tuesday.

“He was a great dad and a great husband and a great provider,” Sheila Wing said. “He is deeply missed by all of us.”

Wing spent most of his years in Springfield, which is where he met his wife. He graduated from Springfield High School.

He was a handyman with specialties in roofing and construction.

Wing had two brothers, three daughters and a son. He never got to meet his first grandchild, who was born the year he died.

“I just feel like (Smith) took the most important person in my life,” Brooke Wing said of her father on Tuesday. “I am just pretty let down.”

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