Posted: Wednesday, October 21, 2015 11:45 pm
Prosecutors said Lynette Gregory’s death was a brutal execution. Defense attorneys said it was an accidental shooting. On Wednesday, a jury acquitted the South Richmond man accused of murdering her.
Gregory, 35, died in the Jefferson Davis Highway motel she called home, struck by a single gunshot to the top of her head. Prosecutors charged Wayne “Weezy” Martin, 34, with murder and the use of a firearm in a murder.
But at trial, a key witness told the jury Martin confessed to accidentally killing the woman, and defense attorneys embraced that testimony. Instructed to choose among first-degree murder, second-degree murder and acquittal, the jury found Martin not guilty in the death of Gregory, whom he had known for years.
On the night of Feb. 6, Martin and his nephew, Davon Creer, spent time at a South Richmond strip club, and after midnight went to the motel where Gregory lived.
He testified that he watched television and dozed for a while, until Martin told him to go down to the car. Martin and Gregory, who was known as “Red,” were in good spirits, he testified.
But a security camera video showed that shortly after Creer left the room, Martin followed.
Creer testified that his uncle seemed “agitated,” and asked him why as they drove from the parking lot.
“He said he had accidentally shot Red,” Creer testified.
A friend of Gregory, who also lived at the motel, testified that she saw Martin leave the dead woman’s room, then put a pistol into his waistband.
The motel manager testified that he saw Martin and Creer arrive and leave that night. He also said that in preceding months, he had seen Martin throw Gregory to her bed several times.
Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Caitlin Kelly tried to undercut Creer’s testimony, suggesting that he was putting the best spin possible on events because he loved his uncle.
Kelly argued that the shooting was premeditated. She said Martin pulled out a gun and that evidence suggested Gregory was kneeling when she was shot.
“You don’t pull out a gun and point it at a woman’s head, unless you’re going to kill her,” she said.
But defense attorney William Linka seized on Creer’s testimony. He also said other witnesses testified that Martin and Gregory got along well. He said the only witness to suggest otherwise, the hotel manager, had at first said he didn’t see Martin that night. And Linka said Martin wouldn’t have brought his nephew to the room if he intended to kill the woman.
“It was a terrible accident, and it was a tragic accident,” he said.