Then on Aug. 3, 2016, Gilbert was shot in his Ford Mustang in the middle of the afternoon at the intersection of Central Avenue and Knightsbridge.
Also killed by the gunfire was Todd Berus, a passenger in the Mustang, Burress said.
“Orlando Gilbert that day was the victim of a paid hit,” Burress told the jury.
Defense attorney David Washington delivers his opening statements to the jury in the Michael Grevious II death penalty trial.
Defense attorney David Washington told the jury his client had nothing to do with the drive-by shooting.
Grevious was part of the July 2016 violence at Doubles Bar, where Kalif Goens, who did not have a gun, was killed. In total, eight people were shot that night at the bar, including Gilbert.
While Burress said the prosecution is not required to prove a motive, he hinted at one during his opening statements.
Goens’ mother was living at the time with Grevious’ father, Burress told the jury.
The prosecution pointed to jail phone conversations from Grevious to Zachary Harris that used slang language to point to a hit on Orlando Gilbert.
Brad Burress, Butler County assistant prosecutor gives opening statements Wednesday morning in the death penalty trial of Michael Grevious II.
Harris and two others from the Columbus area came to Hamilton a couple times, but they failed to find Gilbert, according to the prosecution. Once, they lost track of Gilbert’s Mustang as he left his mother’s birthday party at a Fairfield restaurant. And when Gilbert was later spotted at Joyce Park, where he was coaching youth football, there were too many people present “to get the job done” and the trio abandoned the shooting, Burress said.
But on Aug. 3, 2016, the trio from Columbus found Gilbert’s car at Kroger on Erie Boulevard, according to prosecutors.
They pulled their black truck beside Gilbert’s Mustang on Central Avenue and started shooting. The trio fled, but were later found in Ross Twp.
Washington, however, maintained that the trio who shot Gilbert were not hired by Grevious.
“The crime was sickening, but Micheal Grevious did not pay anybody,” Washington said.
Michael Grevious II is facing the death penalty if found guilty of aggravated murder for the retaliation shooting that followed a 2016 shootout at the former Doubles Bar on Hamilton’s west side. Prosecutors say he ordered a fatal hit on Orlando Gilbert, orchestrated from his jail cell.
Two area residents who witnessed the shooting from their vehicles testified Wednesday.
“I saw the gun coming out the window and shoot up the Mustang,” said Heather Moore, who had been driving from Lindenwald. She said all the windows in the truck were tinted and there was an “Outlaw” sticker on the back.
Anthony Angel said he was returning from a doctor’s appointment with his wife and two young children when his vehicle was hit by the Mustang.
Angel said he helped another person get the passenger out of the vehicle.
“He had a hole in his head,” Angel said. “It was pretty rough.”
Harris and Tony Patete all pleaded guilty to aggravated murder to avoid the death penalty and are serving life sentences in prison. Melinda Gibby also pleaded guilty and will be sentenced after she testifies at this trial.