Fayette County News

Fayette County


Update: Fayetteville Applebee’s murder trial has begun

The trial against two men suspected of killing Fayetteville Applebee’s restaurant manager Gregory Smith last summer began in Fayette County Superior Court Monday morning where prosecutors and defense attorneys spent most of the morning and afternoon picking a jury.

Friends and relatives of slain Fayetteville Applebee’s manager Gregory Smith placed flowers in the parking space where Smith was shot to death in the driver’s seat of his car. (Staff photo by Danny Harrison)

That jury was seated just before 4 p.m. and heard about 70 minutes of opening arguments from Assistant District Attorney David McDade before the court recessed for the day.  Public defense attorneys Chris Ramig and David Studdard, who are both representing Gregory Haney, Jr., and public defense attorney Harry Charles, who is representing Ledarious Jawon Jackson, are expected to give their opening arguments Tuesday morning when the trial resumes.

Haney and Jackson are accused of robbing and killing restaurant manager Gregory Smith in the early morning hours of June 7, 2015.

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 was indicted on Malice Murder, Felony Murder and Armed Robbery charges. Jackson was indicted on Malice Murder, Felony Murder and Armed Robbery – Party to a Crime charges.

By 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.