The family of slain Fayetteville Applebee’s manager Gregory Smith shed tears of sorrow and joy late Tuesday evening as a jury came back with quick guilty verdicts for both Gregory Haney, Jr. and Ledarius Jawon Jackson, the men charged in Smith’s June 7, 2015 murder.
Haney and Jackson were both declared guilty of Malice Murder, Felony Murder and Armed Robbery. Sentencing by Fayette County Superior Court Judge Fletcher Sams is scheduled for 9 a.m. Wednesday.
The trial, which began Monday, May 23, revealed that Haney, who had been an employee months before at that same Applebee’s location, and Jackson were hovering in the area for about an hour and a half that Sunday morning before approaching Smith in the restaurant parking lot around 2:55 a.m. Where the middle of the Sunday morning one o’clock hour might have been a more normal time for a Saturday night manager to walk out the door, Smith had been conducting an inventory and didn’t walk out the door until about 2:52 a.m.
Security cameras attached to Applebee’s and the neighboring Chuck E Cheese restaurant both showed a Chevrolet Malibu, which was driven by Jackson, roll up behind Applebee’s around that same time and then stop suddenly when it reached the entrance to the northern parking lot where Smith was apparently sitting inside his BMW sedan. Police testified that the BMW’s lights and engine were still running when they were alerted to the scene four hours later.
Attorneys made closing arguments in the case Tuesday afternoon, and the case was handed over to the jury around 3:45 p.m. The verdict was announced less than two hours later.
Read more about the trial in Wednesday’s print editions of Fayette County News and Today in Peachtree City and here at www.Fayette-News.com.