Second person charged in Washington deaths

2009 shooting killed 2 men, wounded 1


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Police in Washington, Pa., made a second arrest Monday in a 2009 shooting that left two men dead and one woman injured, using an interview with one suspected gunman to build a case against the other.

Gregory Avery Jr., 23, of Washington, was arrested Monday afternoon on two charges of criminal homicide and one charge of criminal conspiracy for the shooting deaths of Troy "Deuce" Saunders, 23, and Marquis Taylor, 24, near the Cabaret West Bar on West Chestnut Street in that city.

Investigators and prosecutors declined to say why one of the suspected gunmen -- Phillip Whitlock, 30, who is currently awaiting trial on homicide charges -- was arrested four days after the Feb. 16, 2009, shooting, while Mr. Avery was arrested years later.

A criminal complaint unsealed Monday suggests that an interview with Mr. Whitlock provided the linchpin of the investigation.

Officers who responded to the shooting found two types of shell casings -- one from a 9 mm gun and another from a .22-caliber weapon. The woman who survived the scuffle, Lindsay Jolly, identified Mr. Whitlock as one of the gunmen.

She told police that she, Mr. Taylor and Mr. Saunders left the bar at the same time.

She said Mr. Whitlock fired multiple shots at Mr. Taylor, who collapsed outside the bar.

She said she watched as Mr. Saunders ran toward Fayette Street and that she heard more shots after he fled, according to a criminal complaint.

Mr. Whitlock told police last week that Mr. Avery -- whom police described as his "accomplice" -- shot Mr. Taylor outside the bar and then chased Mr. Saunders down Fayette Street moments before he also heard additional gunfire.

Mr. Whitlock said Mr. Avery fired from a .22-caliber gun. Autopsy results showed that Mr. Saunders died of a single, .22-caliber gunshot wound to the back while Mr. Taylor died of six gunshot wounds fired from both types of guns.

Washington County District Attorney Eugene Vittone declined to say whether Mr. Whitlock's interview was part of a plea bargain.

Mr. Whitlock is scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday. His attorney could not immediately be reached for comment.

Washington police Lt. Dan Stanek, who led the investigation, said the victims and the suspected gunmen had "a little bit of an ongoing feud and it all came to a head." He declined to provide additional details.

Washington police Chief Robert Lemons said the arrest represents "closure for us ... probably the final arrest," but he added that investigators will continue to follow any additional tips that might arise.

neigh_washington

Liz Navratil: lnavratil@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1438 or on Twitter @LizNavratil.


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