Three years after fatal Springfield shooting a week-long trial is about to get underway
WHITE RIVER JUNCTION - Wendy Morris, the girlfriend of Greg Smith who is about to go on trial later this week for the fatal shooting of Springfield resident Wesley Wing back in 2015, was flagged up in front of a judge on Monday after she allegedly sent potentially intimidating text messages to a witness who is due to testify soon in the second degree murder case against her boyfriend.
Morris, 28, sat in the back of the courtroom surrounded by a dozen friends and relatives of Smith, 32, watching the status conference unfold before Judge Timothy Tomasi on Monday afternoon.
Smith stands accused of gunning down Wing on the afternoon of April 18, 2015 shortly after witnesses said Wing yelled at Morris when he spotted her sitting in her car near Jake’s Market on South Street.
Wing had reportedly called Morris “a heroin addict and told Morris to get her drugs out of the neighborhood” and, according to police, after Morris returned to her nearby apartment Smith allegedly became so incensed by her account of what just happened that he drove down the street and shot Wing multiple times, returning to his apartment just long enough to grab a backpack before fleeing town.
Monday afternoon’s hearing before Judge Tomasi was supposed to have been a chance for attorneys on both sides to provide a routine update on their efforts to select the jury for the trial that is expected to begin either this Friday or next Monday and last well into next week.
Instead, much of the focus was on Morris after Vermont Assistant Attorney General Ultan Doyle told the judge that Morris, who is herself expected to be a key witness in the upcoming case, had sent texts to another witness in recent days urging them “to do the right thing.”
Wendy Morris (seen in court last year) was charged for allegedly helping Smith hide in the days following the shooting
Doyle said that his office did not think the texts were coercive enough to justify an obstruction of justice charge against Morris but he urged Judge Tomasi to order her to stop, saying that the texts had included reminders that Smith has a young daughter and allegedly explained that if the tables were turned Smith “would have your back” and that “the case was good until” the witness spoke to investigators.
Doyle argued that any attempt to lean on a witness in a way that could potentially cause them to change their story or leave out key facts would “go to the fairness of the trial” itself.
As Smith watched from the defense table in his blue prison uniform, his defense attorney Jordana Levine took issue with the prosecutor's attempt to have Judge Tomasi issue some kind of order to Morris.
“I just don’t see how the court has jurisdiction over the witnesses,” Levine told Judge Tomasi who indicated from the bench that he too was having difficulty determining what sort of edict he could issue under the circumstances although he noted “Obviously there are obstruction of justice concerns and anybody who is doing this ought not to be doing this because it could be a crime.”
The judge urged Doyle to put any further concerns in the form of a written motion, saying “If I determine that more is necessary, and that I have the authority to do something about it, then I will do that.”
Gregory Smith, 32, of Springfield faces a potential 20-year-to-life sentence if he is convicted of second-degree murder
In addition to the group that showed up to support Smith, a half-dozen members of Wing’s family, including Wing’s mother Terry, were present in the courtroom on Monday to watch the pre-trial conference.
Smith is facing a presumptive 20-year-to-life sentence if he were to be convicted of second degree murder in Vermont.
Wesley Wing, a father of four, died hours after he was airlifted to the hospital
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