UPDATE (3/15/21 1:30 p.m.):
FAIRMONT, W.Va. – A jury convicted James Vincent of murder in the 2018 shooting death of Luka Grabb.
The jury reached its verdict at 4:30 p.m. Friday. It convicted Vincent of first-degree murder, conspiracy and malicious assault, according to the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office. Deliberations took one hour.
Vincent is due to be sentenced May 17 at 1:30 p.m. The jury did recommend mercy for Vincent, which would make him eligible to receive parole after 15 years.
All five defendants in the case have now been through the legal process, with co-defendant David Uphold being acquitted of murder, though he was convicted of conspiracy and malicious wounding. Russell Kirk pleaded guilty to malicious assault and conspiracy; Charles Carpenter pleaded guilty to malicious assault and conspiracy; and Vernon Carpenter pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter.
ORIGINAL STORY (3/12/21 6:51 p.m.):
Following testimony Friday from accused murderer James Vincent, the jury is deliberating in the fatal shooting of Luka Grabb.
Vincent is accused of first-degree murder in the 2018 incident. While Vincent has not denied firing the shots that took Grabb’s life, he testified that he never intended to kill his friend.
He took the stand and explained what led to the shots being fired that night, stating that when he found out Grabb had said on tape his intention to rob Vincent, he could not let it go. He explained that the confrontation took about two minutes to escalate, but he and Grabb were never within arm’s reach of each other.
Following the shooting, Vincent told the jury he was “freaked out” and ran into the garage area, saying he knew Grabb needed help. He also expected Vernon “Junior” Carpenter to get Grabb help when he left with him. This happened less than 10 minutes after the shooting. He was also surprised and upset to learn that Grabb had died, and said he cannot really explain the feeling.
Vincent testified that he did not answer the door when law enforcement arrived at his home because he was scared, as he was already on probation.
Vincent was asked about a padlock on Grabb’s bike, and he stated he knew nothing about it; however, he did say bikers do use them, and he had seen Grabb use one before on his bike. He was uncertain if he had done so on the night of the shooting.
The prosecution cross examined Vincent, beginning with the garage. Vincent affirmed that he left his clothes inside the garage, but he did not see anyone hosing down the garage to clean up blood.
Vincent testified that he had been up all night on the morning of Sept. 24, 2018, and he texted Grabb at 5 a.m. saying he was out of town and would talk to him later. He admitted that this was a lie and said he lied to his friends all the time because sometimes he does not want to be bothered.
Vincent then outlined his time with the Pagans Motorcycle Club, saying he first became a member in 2016 and became president in 2018.
Vincent provided details on the scene of the shooting, saying Grabb went down after being shot, and there was a lot of blood. He explained that he helped Grabb get up, but he did not call 911 because he was scared. He also admitted that he shot Grabb four times. When asked why it would be someone else’s responsibility to call 911, Vincent paused before stating that he was scared after having just shot a friend. He also stated that he took off his clothes because he was scared and not because it was evidence.
As far as helping Grabb, Vincent said he gave everyone instructions to get him help.
Vincent testified that when he pulled his gun, he shot at the ground, but the question was raised about the impossibility of pointing at the ground and hitting a man 10 feet away. Vincent asked, “Why would I shoot a man in the legs if I wanted to kill him?” He also said he “had no reason to kill him.”
He was asked if he had left a man lying in his garage, writhing in pain, when he knew he had a gun in his pocket, to which Vincent replied yes. He said he did not try to take Grabb’s gun from him.
Finally, the defense asked Vincent if he ever meant to kill his friend. He replied no.
The jury began deliberating at 3:30 p.m. Friday.
12 News will update this story once the jury reaches a verdict.