No verdict in double-homicide case

December 12, 2013

Judge Katherine B. Emery dismissed jurors in a double-homicide case Thursday afternoon and instructed them to return to the courthouse this morning to decide the fate of Gregory Avery, who is charged with the Feb. 16, 2009, shooting deaths of two local men.

During the daylong discussions, the jury of six men and six women posed one question that the judge was able to answer without convening court and summoning all involved to be present.

Victims of the shooting outside the now-closed Cabaret West bar on West Chestnut Street were Troy Saunders Jr., 23, of Canton Township, and Marquis Taylor, 24, of Washington. The prosecution is seeking first-degree, or premeditated, murder convictions against Avery, who, if convicted, would be imprisoned for life.

The jurors must decide if Avery, who chose not to testify in his own defense, was present that night and fired fatal shots. Avery was charged with two counts of homicide and one count of conspiracy last year when Phillip Whitlock, 31, who was arrested a week after the crime, implicated him on the day his own homicide trial was scheduled to begin.

Two days later, Whitlock instead entered a guilty plea to two counts of third-degree murder, which is committing a killing with “malice aforethought,” conspiracy and aggravated assault, for shooting a third victim who survived.

Whitlock, who has not yet been sentenced, testified against Avery at the trial.

Barbara S. Miller covers politics, Washington County government and a variety of other topics for the Observer-Reporter. She is a graduate of Washington & Jefferson College, majoring in English and history. Follow her on Twitter @reporterbarb.

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