Double homicide suspect charged in a different shooting

July 11, 2013

A Washington man awaiting trial in a 2009 double homicide has been charged with shooting the uncle of his alleged accomplice a year earlier.

District Judge Robert Redlinger on Thursday arraigned Gregory R. Avery Jr., 24, in the September 2008 shooting of Hugh T. Whitlock over a parking issue in the 300 block of Houston St., court record’s show.

New charges of aggravated assault and making terroristic threats were added against Avery, who is awaiting trial in Washington County Court as the suspected gunman in the shooting deaths of two men Feb. 16, 2009, outside Cabaret West bar at 716 W. Chestnut St.

Philip A. Whitlock, 31, also of Washington, pleaded guilty in April 2012 to third-degree homicide and is awaiting sentencing in the 2009 murders of Troy Saunders Jr., 23, of Canton Township, and Marquis Taylor, 24, of Washington.

Whitlock has cooperated with prosecutors and identified Avery as the gunman in those killings. Meanwhile, he testified at Avery’s preliminary hearing in that case he had received an apology from Avery for shooting his uncle.

City police also said last month a .22-caliber casing found at the scene of the shooting of Hugh Whitlock came from the same handgun used in the Cabaret West slayings. The discovery prompted Washington County Judge Katherine B. Emery last month to postpone Avery’s trial to December to allow his attorney time to hire a ballistics expert to review the new evidence.

In court documents filed last month, city police allege Avery shot Hugh Whitlock in the shoulder when Whitlock confronted him about parking his vehicle at outside Whitlock’s house.

Redlinger returned Avery to the Washington County jail on $50,000 bond, even though he has been confined there without bond since May 2012 in the Cabaret West case.

Scott Beveridge is a North Charleroi native who has lived most of his life in nearby Rostraver Township. He is a general assignments reporter focusing on investigative journalism and writing stories about the mid-Mon Valley. He has a bachelor's degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a master's from Duquesne University. Scott spent three weeks in Vietnam in 2004 as a foreign correspondent under an International Center for Journalists fellowship.

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