While Melinda Gibby said she had seen Michael Grevious II in person just once — when they were transported to Butler County Jail — she testified he was the person who ordered a retaliation shooting in August 2016 for gun violence at Doubles Bar.
Gibby, along with two others, drove about 90 miles from Fairfield County, Ohio, to Butler County and spent several days driving around Hamilton in search of their target, investigators alleged.
Gibby testified that Grevious’ nickname “Skitzo” appeared on Zachary Harris’ cell phone numerous times in the hours leading up to the drive-by, double-fatal shooting of Orlando Gilbert and Todd Berus on Aug. 3, 2016.
Gibby pleaded guilty in August to avoid the death penalty. For agreeing to testify, she faces 30 years in prison, instead of life, for two counts of aggravated murder.
She was the prosecution’s main witness on Friday afternoon, day three of testimony in the death penalty trial of Grevious.
Grevious, 25, of Hamilton, is facing the death penalty if found guilty of aggravated murder for allegedly ordering the retaliation shooting. He is also charged with having weapons under disability and felonious assault for violence that happened one month earlier at the Hamilton bar that has since been razed.
Gibby testified that she, along with Harris and Tony Patete and a cousin, drove from the Columbus area to Hamilton on Aug. 2, 2016 after they were contacted about killing Gilbert. They brought an AK-47 with them, she said, and once in Butler County, tried to purchase bullets at a Walmart. When that failed, Gibby said she bought bullets at a Hamilton gun shop.
They were told, allegedly by Grevious, that Gilbert could be found coaching youth football at Joyce Park. When they found Gilbert’s black Mustang at the park, they didn’t shoot him because there were too many children in the park, Gibby testified.
She said there was “no plan,” but the shooting was going to “just happen.”
After spending the night in a local hotel, the four of them searched for the black Mustang again. While parked in a shopping center, they saw the Mustang and followed. Gibby said she pulled up next to the Mustang and Harris, who was in the back seat of the truck, handed Patete the gun. Gibby said “a lot” of shots were fired at the car, then she quickly drove off.
A few minutes later, Grevious was called and told the “job was done,” Gibby testified.
Defense attorney David Washington questioned why Gibby, who said she received no money or compensation for the alleged killings, drove from Columbus to Hamilton to participate in the shooting. She didn’t have an answer and said she’s a “better” person now.
Harris and Patete pleaded guilty to aggravated murder to avoid the death penalty and are serving life sentences in prison.
The trial is set to resume at 1:30 p.m. Monday. Judge Greg Stephens instructed the jurors not to discuss or research the case over the weekend.