Case will enter its sixth full day on Tuesday
WHITE RIVER JUNCTION - Jurors spent four-and-a-half hours considering the second-degree murder case against Greg Smith for the fatal shooting three years ago of Springfield resident Wesley Wing before the judge called it a night and asked them to return first thing Tuesday to resume their deliberations.
The fifth day of Smith’s trial followed a three-day-long break for the jurors and began with closing arguments from both sides before the jury was finally given the case mid-afternoon.
Greg Smith, 32, of Springfield at the defense table Monday with his attorneys
Assistant Attorney General Ultan Doyle characterized Smith as an angry boyfriend who flew off the handle after he learned that Wesley Wing had confronted Smith’s girlfriend, Wendy Morris, on a Saturday afternoon in April 2015 when Wing, who had been drinking that day, angrily accused her of dealing drugs in the neighborhood surrounding Springfield High School.
Smith’s defense attorneys, Brian Marsicovetere and Jordana Levine, put the onus for the shooting, which transpired a few yards from the Jake’s Market convenience store on South Street, on Wing himself.
They repeatedly described Wing as being “on a tear” that afternoon, noting that Wing first accosted Morris as she sat in her parked car and then, according to Smith, he attacked Smith just a few minutes later while he too was seated behind the wheel of a car.
“We know that (Wing) was angry. We know that he was hostile. We know that he was on a tear,” Marsicovetere told the jurors as he suggested that it was actually Smith who had the cooler head in the moments before he fatally shot Wing.
“He was provoked into defending himself. He didn’t ask for this,” Marsicovetere said of his client, adding, “There was never any intent to kill. There was a frantic attempt to get (Wing) off,” of him after he said Wing sucker punched him through the open window of his car.
Defense attorney Brian Marsicovetere makes a point to the jury about witness testimony
While the prosecution maintains that Smith drove past Wing as he walked up the sidewalk and twice got into brief shouting matches with him before Smith finally pulled across Wing’s path with his car, put a .40 caliber handgun out the window, and “executed” Wing in broad daylight, Marsicovetere urged the jurors to take up Smith’s contention that he acted in self defense.
Noting that Wing was a healthy 250-pound man who made his living as a carpenter, Marsicovetere asked, “When you have someone that size and that angry are you supposed to wait until their hands go around your neck? You are being asked to second guess somebody who knows what that feels like.”
Supporters of Greg Smith have been intently watching the proceedings for the past week
Prosecutor Doyle called Smith’s version of events “a complete fabrication” saying “His testimony conflicts with just about every witness and the physical evidence in this case.”
“This evidence is significant and it is overwhelming and it proves beyond any reasonable doubt that Greg Smith is guilty of second-degree murder,” Doyle argued as he keyed in on a sequence of events described by various witnesses along the length of South Street, parts of which were captured by a video surveillance camera mounted just inside the doors of Jake’s Market facing out into the parking lot and the nearby street.
Doyle urged the jurors to watch the seconds ticking away in the corner of the video as he used the witness accounts to bracket what he said were the moments that the black Nissan Infiniti driven by Smith came up South Street for the final time before it pulled onto Cheryl Lane and a startled Jake’s patron looked up as she heard a burst of five shots. Next she could be seen coming through the doors, pointing to where the shooting took place, and asking the clerk for a phone to call 911.
A little less than 30 seconds later a mortally wounded Wes Wing can be seen staggering into the frame before he opens the doors and collapses just inside the store.
Doyle put the time between the moment Smith’s car was pulling into Cheryl Lane and the five shots were fired in rapid succession into Wing at between 10 and 12 seconds.
Ultan Doyle tells the jurors that Smith's account strikes him as that of a man trying desperately to recast his demeanor in the minutes before the shooting
Using the “time stamp” on the video screen, Doyle pointed out that Smith’s testimony was that, during those 12 seconds, he was able to put his car in park before he fumbled with the locked door of his car in an unsuccessful attempt to open it while Wing closed the distance of approximately three paces, leaned into the car, punched Smith twice in face through the open window and pushed Smith’s head up against the steering wheel before Smith was able to lean back, push Wing’s right shoulder up against the ceiling of the driver’s compartment with his left hand while taking his gun out of a holster that was next to his seat with his right hand, release the safety one-handed, and then aim the gun at Wing’s abdomen and begin firing.
“What the defendant told you could not possibly have occurred,” that way, Doyle said as he argued both that the time was simply too short and the paths of the bullets that were recovered clear on the other side of South Street and the discovery of three shell casing out on the pavement of Cheryl Lane contradicted Smith’s account.
“It’s not just that this is unlikely. It’s impossible when you look at all the evidence,” Doyle argued as he concluded, “Ladies and Gentleman, this isn’t a close call. The evidence is overwhelming and it points in just one direction. That the defendant murdered Wesley Wing.”
Members of Wesley Wing's family, including his mother Terry Wing (center), stand as the jury enters the courtroom
Marsicovetere took issue with the state’s time line, noting that Smith’s car could not actually be seen pulling into Cheryl Lane on the video and arguing that it happened slightly earlier than the prosecutor’s had calculated which he said would have allowed more like 20 to 30 seconds for Smith’s version of events to have transpired.
During the jury's deliberations early Monday evening two notes were sent to the judge. The first note asked whether the jury could have the test results from the “swabs” that were taken of the interior of Smith’s car after it was recovered in New Hampshire.
A state police crime scene investigator had testified last week that the interior of the Infiniti had been wiped down to the point that it was practically soaked in Armor All cleaner, a substance that presumably eliminated any trace evidence that might have been present; however, Judge Timothy Tomasi sent back a short reply saying simply “No, you have to consider the evidence as it was presented to you.”
Judge Timothy Tomasi decided to send the jury home shortly before 8 p.m. Monday in order to get a fresh start Tuesday
The second note, which arrived just before 8 p.m., asked to hear replays of portions of the testimony of two witnesses who had previously testified about how they said Smith had pulled his car onto Cheryl Lane in the moments before Wing was fatally shot.
Smith testified that he was more curious than upset when he came across Wing as Wing walked up South Street and said that he simply motioned for Smith to talk with him on the lane and pulled in at a “normal” 90 degree angle to South Street and parked, intending to get out and chat.
Prosecutors characterized the other witnesses as having said that Smith made an angry turn into Wing’s path and jammed his car to a halt at a slanted angle before firing back at Wing, a factor that they said led to his expended bullets landing out across the street and in at least one case furrowing a nearby front lawn.
“(Smith) wasn’t the friendly neighborhood Good Samaritan,” who just wanted to see what the fuss with his girlfriend had been about, argued Special Assistant Attorney General Adam Korn, “He was a guy who was going to seek out the victim. He’s decided he’s going to murder this guy. He sets up his kill shot. He drives into Cheryl Lane and sets it up so the victim is walking directly to him. Certainly when you intend to kill someone you would shoot at them five times,” Korn said during the closing arguments.
Vermont News can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org