Mistrial declared in attempted murder case

Published 5:28 pm Thursday, June 28, 2012

Jurors were dismissed Thursday afternoon after Circuit Judge Bradley Byrne granted a motion for a mistrial by the attorney for the defense in an attempted murder case.

Donald Gregory Wilson had been charged with the crime stemming from a 2010 incident when he allegedly fired shots that injured a hotel employee and other shots aimed at law enforcement officers responding to the scene.

Testimony in the trail began with opening comments from attorneys for both the prosecution and defense.

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Escambia County District Attorney Steve Billy and Assistant District Attorney Jeff White were seated for the prosecution while attorney Earnest White was serving as attorney for Wilson.

After a handful of witnesses gave testimony to Wilson’s actions in July 2010 before Byrne called for a lunch break just before noon.

After jurors returned from lunch, their return to the courtroom was delayed due the absence of a witness who had been subpoenaed to testify in the case.

Dr. Jerry Gragg was summoned to appear at 1 p.m. to testify in the trial but failed to show up in the courtroom.

White entered a motion to have the judge declare a mistrial in the case since Gragg was to have been a material witness in the case concerning Wilson’s mental condition during and following the acts that lead to the charges against him.

Byrne granted the motion and declared a mistrial in the case and quickly dismissed the jury. He also issued a contempt citation for Gragg who will now be required to appear before the judge to justify his absence.

Byrne said the next available session for circuit court would be in September to allow a jury to hear the case against Wilson. A tentative date for a second attempt to try Wilson was set for Sept. 17.