FAIRMONT, W.Va. – The murder trial of James Vincent continued Tuesday in Marion County.
Vincent is accused of killing Luka Grabb in 2018.
Russell Kirk, who previously pleaded guilty to malicious assault and conspiracy in the case, provided his testimony.
Kirk testified that he brought the tape—on which Grabb stated his intention to rob Vincent—for Vincent to hear. He said Grabb looked like he was making a move for a gun, Vincent reacted and shot toward the ground.
The defense asked if all four shots were pointed toward the ground, which Kirk confirmed. Kirk also stated that they were surprised that Grabb was shot in the incident, and said Vincent was shocked, as well.
Further, Kirk attested that Grabb brought methamphetamine, which he partook in. He also explained to jurors the effects methamphetamine has on a person, including paranoia and increased alertness.
The prosecution asked whether Kirk was prepared to have his friend’s back no matter what, and Kirk said yes, elaborating that that is what brothers and bikers do for one another. He also confirmed he was prepared to take a plea deal and go to prison.
A Marion County deputy took the stand and spoke about a conversation with neighbors. The deputy stated that a man and his wife heard four gunshots and saw men dragging a body that looked like it had been shot. The man also told the deputy that he saw men hosing down and trying to clean up a garage floor.
The deputy stated that he went to the house and saw pools of blood and saw the hose. He testified that the neighbor told him there could be up to 10 people still inside the house. After setting up a perimeter around the house, deputies learned of an investigation into an injured man found on Pinchgut Hollow Road.
The deputy testified that he went into the house with a search warrant and saw several people inside before going into the garage, where he saw a hose going outside. He also said he could smell a strong odor of bleach.
A second deputy testified that he went to the call on Pinchgut Hollow Road about a man possibly being shot. When he arrived, three officers were there, along with a man on the ground. He stated that he recognized him as Grabb, and said he was rolling around in pain trying to drag himself.
The second deputy told the jury he left that scene and went to the house, where he saw a puddle of blood in the gravel driveway. He also stated that he could smell bleach in the garage. Further, he found a loaded gun under a couch, along with another gun in the main part of the garage, an “AK-style” rifle under Vincent’s mattress and a shotgun elsewhere in the house.
The defense asked the second deputy about a padlock on Grabb’s motorcycle, and he said he did not know who had put the lock on it. He also said they did not investigate the bike or if it had been moved.
Fairmont City Councilman Josh Rice, who was Grabb’s older brother, testified Tuesday. Rice told the jury that Grabb was a good father and explained how losing his brother has affected him.
“This whole thing haunts me every morning when I wake up. I have nightmares and get hit with this every morning, and it does not stop,” said Rice. “My brother didn’t die of cancer or an accident. My brother was murdered. It’s something I’ll never get over.”
The prosecution asked Rice about the padlock. He said he never knew his brother to lock his bike and said Grabb would never use on a combination padlock, because he would not be able to remember the combination.
An FBI special agent, who was a deputy at the time, took the stand, and said he prepared the search warrant in the case. He stated that he initially went to Pinchgut Hollow Road, but Grabb had already been taken by EMS from the scene. After going to the house, he spoke with Kirk, who told him about the tape with Grabb saying he was going to rob Vincent.
The agent testified that Kirk told him Grabb was invited over, and Grabb and Vincent had gotten into a fight, with Vincent shooting Grabb.
The agent spoke about interviewing Vincent about the incident. Initially, Vincent said they were lighting fireworks and then had gone to bed. The agent explained to Vincent that they had found Grabb with gunshot wounds and that he had died.
After learning that Grabb was dead, Vincent became more cooperative, the agent told the jury. He also became physically distraught and panicky and behaved as though he were trying to figure out his next move.
The agent stated that Vincent finally admitted that he and Grabb had gotten into a fight and that he had shot Grabb. He then said afterward he panicked and told others to get Grabb out of there. Vincent told the agent he did not know who had taken Grabb away from the scene.
The trial will continue Wednesday.