Guilty on all three counts of murder

By Mike McDaniel - bio | email

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - After a three day trial in Forrest County Circuit Court, Gregory Mootye, 22, is now convicted of three counts of murder.

Three days of testimony came from the prosecution. When it came time for the defense to lay out its case, Mootye chose not to take the stand and no witnesses were called. Once the jury got the case it took just more than an hour for the three guilty verdicts to come back.  It was a trial ending in victory for the family of two Hattiesburg women and an unborn child.

"I was relieved just to know that I know he did this to my family but he won't be able to continue to do it to anybody else," said Lakeisha Twillie who lost her mother, sister and future nephew in the murders.

It was back in February when Alesia Twillie, 49, her daughter Angelica, 26, and Angelica's unborn child, Markel, were killed in their home at the corner of Dabbs Street and Pauline Avenue in Hattiesburg.

Testimony and evidence showed both women were shot and stabbed multiple times. A medical examiner even testified if the baby would have been delivered, Markel would be alive today which was shocking news for the family.

"My heart just dropped, it dropped because I was hoping that she could have lived long enough in order for them to deliver the baby," said Twillie.

Prosecutors say the baby was the motive for murder. District Attorney Patricia Burchell told the court Angelica Twillie told Mootye she was having his baby and Mootye, who already has one child, made it clear he didn't want to support another, asking Angelica to get an abortion, which she refused.

"We just knew that was the reason and have no doubt right now that was the reason," said Burchell.

Come to find out, DNA evidence presented in court showed Mootye was in fact not the father of the baby. DNA also showed Mootye wasn't excluded from DNA found on the handle of a knife found near the scene.

Mootye's childhood friend and former roommate testified Mootye even confessed the murders to him.

Defense attorney Darla Palmer says even so, no evidence was presented directly linking Mootye to the murders and plans to appeal.

"We just felt like there should have been more definite or more accurate or just more direct evidence to suggest that he committed these crimes," said Palmer.

Meanwhile, the family of the Twillies say justice has finally come.

Velesia Twillie says, "I was happy, I was happy with the idea that he could not hurt anybody else's family like he has hurt ours," said Velesia Twillie who lost a sister, a niece and great-nephew.

"I don't rejoice that he's going to prison, I wish that he finds peace with god and gets his life together," said Willie Jones who lost a daughter, granddaughter and great-granddaughter

Judge Bob Helfrich sentenced Mootye to three life sentences to run consecutively.

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