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Testimony Turns To Stolen Handgun At Bloomington Murder Trial

Mary speaks
David Proeber
The Pantagraph (Pool)
Prosecutor Mary Lawson speaks to the jury on Tuesday, July 14, 2020, at the murder trial of Anthony Grampsas, left.

UPDATED 4:30 p.m. | The bloody crime scene where Egerton Dover died showed evidence of multiple gunshots before first responders found his body on the kitchen floor of his west Bloomington apartment.

Graphic photos of Dover along with several shell casings were displayed Wednesday to McLean County jurors considering murder charges against Anthony Grampsas.

Authorities contend Grampsas drove Curtis Hairston Jr. and Tyjuan Bruce to Dover’s apartment in the 800 block of West Jefferson Street on Dec. 5, 2018.

Bruce also faces murder charges; Hairston died in an unrelated shooting in Decatur in January 2019.

Former Bloomington Police crime scene detective Scott Mathewson testified that bullet casings were found in Dover’s bedroom and kitchen. The home showed signs of forced entry, he said.

Two bags containing marijuana were located in Dover’s bedroom, said Mathewson.

Assistant State’s Attorney Mary Lawson argued Tuesday the suspects were upset with Dover because he did not share marijuana he obtained in Champaign. The men had been together at a gathering in Normal hours before the shooting.

Bloomington detectives also seized evidence from locations in Decatur, where the suspects resided. 

Several weapons were found in a camper located outside Bruce’s home. Grampsas, now 20, looked at a screen in the courtroom as photos of his Decatur apartment were displayed for the jury. Photos showed a partially loaded magazine for a handgun and an identification card for Bruce.

Defense lawyer Steve Skelton told jurors Tuesday that Grampsas was at another location at the time of the shooting. Skelton argued that Bruce and Hairston went into the home.

Twice-stolen handgun

In other testimony Wednesday, jurors heard about a twice-stolen handgun and the role marijuana may have played in Dover's death.

Witness Dylan Meserole described the theft of a handgun he brought to the gathering in Normal on Dec. 4, 2018. Meserole, now 19, said Hairston robbed him of the gun. 

Meserole denied knowing the weapon was stolen from its previous owner, but admitted he knew his possession of a handgun was illegal. The witness was unable to recall some details of the evening, describing his condition as “eight out of 10 drunk.”

The state agreed to forgo criminal charges against Meserole in exchange for his cooperation with the murder cases.

Several people at the gathering were upset that Dover had not shared marijuana he acquired in Champaign, said Meserole. 

The “grumbling” among some guests was directed at the victim, said Meserole. 

Witness Demarius Young recalled Bruce saying he intended to rob Dover of drugs.

“I don’t care if it pisses Curtis (Hairston) off, I’m robbing Egerton,” Young recalled hearing Bruce comment at the Normal apartment.

The trial continues Thursday but will not be in session on Friday.

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Edith began her career as a reporter with The DeWitt County Observer, a weekly newspaper in Clinton. From 2007 to June 2019, Edith covered crime and legal issues for The Pantagraph, a daily newspaper in Bloomington, Illinois. She previously worked as a correspondent for The Pantagraph covering courts and local government issues in central Illinois.
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