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St. Albans man gets life terms in kidnapping, murder plot

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A St. Albans man was sentenced Wednesday to two consecutive life sentences for the execution-style slaying of a North Charleston man in 2010.

Kanawha Circuit Judge Charles King sentenced Garland Murray, 28, on Wednesday. Earlier this year, a jury found Murray guilty of shooting Gregory Poole once in the face and twice in the back of the head and attempting to kidnap his wife, Ebony Poole, from their home on Woodward Drive.

Murray's brother, Deshawne Taylor, also was involved in the shooting, but pleaded guilty to conspiracy to kidnap. Prosecutors said the investigation showed Taylor was not the gunman.

The jury recommended mercy for Murray's murder conviction, meaning he will be eligible for parole on that charge after serving 15 years of a life sentence. The judge, however, also sentenced Murray to 15 years to life on the attempted kidnapping charge, which will stack with a one- to 15-year burglary charge.

King was able to sentence Murray to life on the kidnapping charge because prosecutors invoked state "three strikes" laws, which allows judges to give a defendant a life sentence based on previous convictions.

"I lost my son and I'll never see him again in this life," Poole's mother, Joann Poole, said Wednesday. "My son's death will affect me for the rest of my life. This is something I will never get over."

On April 20, 2010, Poole left his home to sell drugs to Murray and Taylor. Sometime later, Taylor returned to Poole's home, entered with Poole's key and forced Ebony Poole outside, she testified in May.

Ebony Poole said that her husband had a red mark on his face and was sitting in the driver's seat of his car. Murray was sitting in the back seat directly behind him, holding what she believed to be a gun to his back.

Ebony Poole managed to flee before Taylor could force her into the car.

Prosecutors said that Murray and Taylor forced Poole to drive them to an area near Second Street in North Charleston. At one point, Poole managed to break away from his captors, but Murray caught up and fired a bullet that struck him in the nose.

When Poole fell to ground, Murray shot him twice more in the back of the head, prosecutors said.

Murray leaned back in his chair and tilted his head to the side for most of Wednesday's hearing. He refused a chance to speak before his sentencing.

"He had his chance to say something and he's not sorry," family member Stephanie Ellison said. "He doesn't deserve to ever be free again."

Assistant Kanawha County prosecutor Rob Schulenberg pointed out that Murray's nickname is "Cream," an acronym for "Cash Rules Everything Around Me."

"His nickname, 'Cream' fits his desires, motivations and conduct," Schulenberg said. "To Garland Murray, cash rules everything around him."

Reach Zac Taylor at zachary.taylor@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5189.


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