Fauquier County, VA – 28 February, 2017 – The Virginia Court of Appeals today reversed a portion of the conviction of a Marshall man who shot and killed 23 year old Junior Jordan Montero while he was repossessing his car in June 2014.
Carroll Edward “Tootie” Gregg, 55, of Marshall, was found guilty of two involuntary manslaughter charges, one statutory and one common law, after a five-day jury trial in September 2015.
Gregg was sentenced to 20 years in prison, with six years suspended, in connection with the death of Junior Jordan Montero Sanchez, 23, of Hyattsville, Maryland. Gregg was originally charged with second-degree murder.
The court of appeals ruled Feb. 28 to reverse and remand a portion of Gregg’s conviction. Gregg remains incarcerated.
The appeals court ruled that Gregg cannot be convicted of two manslaughter charges for the same offense, which is a violation the double-jeopardy clause of the U.S. Constitution, said Blair Howard, a Warrenton defense attorney representing Gregg.
The decision could reduce Gregg’s sentence from 20 years to 10, since he received 10 years for each manslaughter charge, Howard said.
The case will now return to Fauquier County Circuit Court, Howard said.
Attempts to reach Fauquier County Commonwealth’s Attorney Jim Fisher were not immediately successful Tuesday.
Around midnight on June 6, 2014, Sanchez and Alex Marin arrived at Gregg’s apartment off Conde Road in Marshall to repossess Gregg’s 2004 GMC Sierra truck after he defaulted on payments to a title lender, according to testimony in Fauquier Circuit Court.
When the truck’s alarm sounded, Gregg awoke and yelled “get the f—out of here” at the two men from his window, according to testimony. When Sanchez and Marin heard the yelling, they drove away with the truck in tow.
Just after the truck began to drive away on Conde Road, Marin heard a loud shot ring out, according to testimony. The bullet pierced through the tow truck and into Sanchez’s heart and lungs, killing him, according to the medical examiner.
Marin told the court he only heard one shot fired, which contradicted testimony from a neighbor who reported hearing more than one shot.
Gregg did not deny he fired the gun during the incident, but claimed he fired it by accident, according to court records. When questioned by deputies, Gregg said, “It was an accident. I shot, I fell and I shot again.”
Warrenton defense attorney Blair Howard argued Gregg’s truck had been repossessed twice before without any strife or aggression and the incident was an unfortunate accident. Howard told the court Gregg accidently fired the second shot when he tripped in a ditch and he had no intention of killing Sanchez.
The bullet fragmented when it passed through the metal of the tow truck, according to testimony. No shell casings were ever found at the scene of the slaying. Deputies used metal detectors, rappelled down a ravine behind Gregg’s apartment building and dispatched a K-9 unit to search the property and a Virginia State Police dive team to search a pond, but no casings were ever found.
Howard made a motion to strike the murder charge during the trial because he said Commonwealth’s Attorney James Fisher didn’t show any evidence of premeditation or malice to support the charge. Judge Herman A. Whisenant Jr. denied the motion and left it up for the jury to decide.
The jury found Gregg guilty of a lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter after nine and a half hours of deliberation.
Source: Fauquier Times