Local News

Seaga Gillard found guilty in 2016 murders at Raleigh motel

Posted February 20, 2019 10:47 a.m. EST
Updated February 20, 2019 3:17 p.m. EST

— A Wake County jury on Wednesday found Seaga Edward Gillard guilty in the double murder of two people in a Raleigh motel nearly three years ago.

Since prosecutors were seeking the death penalty, jurors will reconvene on Monday at 9:30 a.m. for the punishment phase of the trial. The panel could opt to impose capital punishment on Gillard, 30, who was convicted of several charges, including two counts of first-degree murder, attempted robbery with a firearm and attempted first-degree rape.

He was accused in the 2016 deaths of April Lynn Holland, 22, and her boyfriend, Dwayne Garvey, 28.

Gillard showed no emotion as the verdicts were announced.

The last time a Wake County jury imposed the death penalty was in 2007, and the last time North Carolina executed an inmate was in 2006.

Holland and Garvey were killed while they were at the Americas Best Value Inn, a motel located on Arrow Drive off Glenwood Avenue.

Security cameras at the motel near Crabtree Valley Mall captured the deaths of Holland and Garvey, and the footage helped convict them.

On Wednesday, jurors asked to see a replay of the surveillance footage just before they returned a guilty verdict.

The capital punishment trial lasted just under a week although the panel will meet again Monday for the second phase of the trial.

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.

April Holland, Dwayne Garvey, killed at Raleigh motel

On Friday, the prosecution played the video that shows a hallway confrontation between Gillard and Garvey.

They say Gillard and another defendant, Brandon Hill, visited the hotel in response to an online ad for prostitution.

Detective Eric Gibney narrated the video, showing Gillard and Hall in the hallway as the other victim, Holland's boyfriend Garvey, walks by.

A few minutes after the men enter the room, Garvey panics and starts beating on the door.

According to prosecutor Katy Pomeroy, Hill comes out, tussles with Garvey and fires a shot. The video shows Garvey stumbling away as Hill keeps firing – seven shots in all. Smoke from the gunshots obscures the camera.

As Hill exits down a hallway to the left, prosecutors say Gillard follows him, firing back into the hotel room doorway at Holland. She was found dead in the room with two gunshot wounds.

Garvey was shot several times.

Gillard's attorneys say the murders were not premeditated.

"Nine shots are fired from two separate guns, and two people are dead in the span of 10 seconds," defense attorney Edd 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.