Applebee’s murder trial: Defendant’s ex-girlfriend says he admitted shooting the victim

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The parking space where Fayetteville Applebee’s manager Gregory Smith was found dead in his car on June 7, 2015. (Staff photo by Danny Harrison)

The Fayetteville Applebee’s murder trial continued Wednesday morning in Fayette County Superior Court, and the final witness to testify before the lunch break was defendant Gregory Haney’s ex-girlfriend Katasha Wilson, who says Haney told her he shot the restaurant manager identified as Gregory Smith, who died as a result of that June 7, 2015 encounter.

Wilson testified that was with Haney at his mother’s apartment in Clayton County on Father’s Day of last year, exactly two weeks after the Applebee’s shooting took place. She said Haney told her as she was leaving that he wanted to tell her about something.

“He said he had went to Applebee’s to rob the place, and he had shot someone,” Wilson said on the witness stand.

Wilson said she asked Haney what he was going to do about the situation, and he replied, “I don’t know. I don’t know.

“He hugged me and told me that he loved me,” Wilson recalled.

Wilson said she and Haney had been friends for years, having met him through a relative. She said between Oct. 2014 and Feb. 2015 the two were boyfriend and girlfriend.

Jurors also heard from Fayetteville Police Lieutenant Mike Whitlow, who serves as the department’s public information officer and who on June 7 of last year was still the active supervisor over the investigations division. Whitlow explained what kinds of evidence his department obtained through a security camera located on the back, outside wall of Applebee’s and from another camera located on an exterior wall of the neighboring Chuck E Cheese restaurant.

First, jurors were shown interior Applebee’s video footage of Gregory Smith leaving the restaurant and locking up around 2:52 a.m. on that Sunday morning. Then they were shown footage from the exterior Applebee’s camera that shows a car driving behind the building with headlights switched off until just before it reaches the camera, and then the headlights are switched on and momentarily blind the night-vision camera. Using freeze-frame, prosecutors then paused and advanced the footage frame by frame to show close-up images of the car, a front seat passenger and something thus far unidentified in the back seat.

Haney’s mother, Alicia Paschel, is expected to testify Wednesday afternoon that her son also admitted to her that he shot the Applebee’s manager.

READ MORE:

Update: Fayetteville Applebee’s murder trial has begun

 

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About

Danny Harrison, a 1992 Fayette High School graduate, began his journalism career with Fayette County News in 1995. After taking several leaves of absence to pursue journalism and Christian ministry opportunities, including a few out of state and overseas, he returned full-time to Fayette County News in August 2014. Harrison earned a bachelor's degree in pastoral ministry in 2009 while serving as a missionary journalist in England and Western Europe.


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