Applebee’s murder suspects to stand trial March 14

Applebee’s murder suspects to stand trial March 14

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Flowers left in memory of slain Applebee’s manager Gregory Smith remained for weeks in the parking space where he died. (Staff photo by Danny Harrison)

Fayette County Superior Court Judge Fletcher Sams has set the trial date for murder defendants Gregory Haney, Jr. and Ledarius Jawon Jackson as Monday, March 14.

Haney and Jackson stand accused in the early-morning, June 7, 2015 armed robbery and murder of Fayetteville Applebee’s restaurant manager Gregory Smith. The pair are scheduled to be tried together.

According to police reports, Smith had left the restaurant at 2:58 a.m. that Sunday. He apparently was walking to his car when he was allegedly approached by Haney and Jackson. Smith was found dead in his car around 6:30 that morning by his girlfriend, who said she was worried when he didn’t arrive home, which is why she and their child set out to look for him at the restaurant.

When police arrived at the scene, they found Smith in the driver’s seat of his car and bullet holes through the driver-side window. Smith had been hit by the bullets.

Police announced on July 1 that they had arrested Haney and Jackson, who had in the meantime been detained in other county jails. Police also said they learned that Haney is a former Fayetteville Applebee’s employee, though he did not know or work with Smith.

Haney will stand trial for Malice Murder, Felony Murder and Armed Robbery. Jackson will stand trial for Malice Murder, Felony Murder and Armed Robbery – Party to a Crime.

Danny Harrison

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.