Prosecutor: Killings of couple at Raleigh motel caught on camera
Posted February 11, 2019 2:38 p.m. EST
Updated February 11, 2019 6:03 p.m. EST
Raleigh, N.C. — Security cameras at a motel near Crabtree Valley Mall captured the shooting deaths of a man and a woman 14 months ago and helped Raleigh police identify their killers, a prosecutor said Monday.
Testimony began Monday in the trial of Seaga Edward Gillard, 30, in the Dec. 3, 2016, deaths of April Lynn Holland, 22, and her boyfriend, Dwayne Garvey, 28, at the Americas Best Value Inn, on Arrow Drive off Glenwood Avenue. Gillard could face the death penalty if convicted.
Holland, who was three months pregnant, was working as a prostitute at the motel, while Garvey, the father of her three children, was her partner in the illicit enterprise, Wake County Assistant District Attorney David Saacks told jurors in his opening statement.
Saacks said the jury will get to see footage from the security cameras, which he said shows Gillard and his co-defendant, Brandon Xavier Hill, walking up and down a corridor at the motel and toward the room where Holland was. Later, the cameras catch Garvey banging on the door to the room, Hill confronting him with a gun and then shooting him seven times.
Gillard can then be seen coming out of the room with his arm pointed back inside before he runs off, Saacks said. Holland was found dead inside the door to the room, he said.
Defense attorney Edd Roberts told jurors that the shootings weren't premeditated, so they don't qualify as first-degree murder.
Hill and Garvey must have had some confrontation before the camera footage of their encounter outside the motel room, Roberts said, because Hill already had his gun pointed at Garvey as he rounded a corner and into the camera frame. That chaos in the hallway then spilled into the room, he said.
"Nine shots are fired from two separate guns, and two people are dead in the span of 10 seconds," Roberts told jurors in his opening statement. "It is a horrible thing that happened. It was chaotic. It was random. It was tragic."
Gillard just went to the motel for sex, according to Roberts, and didn't know what was happening when he heard banging, yelling and gunfire outside.
Regardless of what Holland and Garvey were doing at the morel, Saacks said, they deserve justice for how they died.
"Because of who they were and what they were doing, do they matter?" he asked jurors. "Do Dwayne and April matter? Will they be afforded the same consideration and the same justice any one of us would expect?"
Initial witnesses in the trial included two women who were staying at the motel, the night manager and two Raleigh police officers who responded to the shooting.
Breona Galvez recounted hiding with her children behind a bed when she heard the gunfire. She later encountered a bloody hallway and even glimpsed Garvey's body before officers ushered her away.
Chris Robertson said he was folding laundry when he heard the shots and called 911. Only later, he said, did he learn that one of the bullets had ricocheted into the room where he was working and wound up in a wall about 15 feet away.
Gillard's trial will resume Tuesday morning and is expected to last three weeks. Hill remains in the Wake County jail without bond awaiting his trial.