Posted: 3:05 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013

Man convicted of “racially motivated” double murder gets new trial



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Gregory Leet photo
Gregory Leet
Gregory Leet

By Lou Grieco

DAYTON —

A Jefferson Twp. man sentenced to 38 years to life in prison for the slaying of two men who offered to help him after a drug ripoff will get a new trial.

The Ohio 2nd District Court of Appeals reversed the conviction of Gregory Leet, agreeing with Leet that the trial court erred when it overruled Leet’s motion to suppress. The decision was handed down Friday.

At issue are statements that Leet made to Montgomery County Sheriff’s investigators in March 2010. The decision, written by Judge Mary E. Donovan and joined by Judge Thomas J. Grady, states that questioning should have broken off immediately when he asked for a lawyer during his second conversation with detectives. The decision also states that the record shows that Leet’s initial waiver, before his first conversation, was not made in a knowing, intelligent and voluntary fashion, as required by law. Therefore, all of those statements should have been excluded from the trial.

Judge Jeffrey E. Froelich concurred that the questioning should have stopped during the second conversation, but did not agree that the statements from the first conversation should be suppressed.

“I’ll be back in two years because I’m innocent,” Leet told Judge Mary Katherine Huffman at his June 7, 2011 sentencing, promising he would be out of prison within five years.

Huffman told Leet that the slayings were “so racially motivated.” Leet, 29, is white. Victims Nathan E. Gay and Harvey Sims Jr. were black. So was the man who ripped off Leet, and another man Leet beat up after his money was taken.

The bodies of Gay and Sims were found Feb. 26, 2010, along a bank of Bear Creek in Jefferson Twp.

A jury convicted Leet on May 27, 2011 of two counts of purposeful murder, two counts of felony murder, four counts of felonious assault and one count of tampering with evidence. He was exonerated on one count of aggravated robbery.

Leet’s friend Tylor Blevins and Blevins’ cousin Kenneth Bailey testified they saw Leet shoot Gay and Sims. The defense contended Bailey was the killer and Blevins was helping frame Leet.

Blevins testified that he, Bailey and Leet had left Hammerjax nightclub, 111 E. Fourth St., when Leet approached a man to purchase cocaine. That man, Abdul Jihad, testified he took Leet into the Wilkinson Apartments on West Fifth Street, took Leet’s money then ran off.

Unable to find Jihad, Leet then attacked an elderly man who was walking on the sidewalk, according to trial testimony.

Blevins said that Gay, 49, and Sims, 54, approached and said they knew who had taken the money.

Leet offered them each $100 to find the man, but said he’d have to go to his house in Jefferson Twp., according to witness testimony.

Witnesses said the victims got in Leet’s SUV, and the five men drove to Leet’s house. After stopping at the house, Leet drove to an area near 2701 Germantown-Liberty Road, according to trial testimony. Leet and the two victims got out of the vehicle, and Leet fired several shots, according to witness testimony. Blevins said he heard one of the men begging for his life.

 
 

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