Prosecutors opened their murder case Tuesday against Anthony Grampsas by telling jurors he was the driver—not the shooter—in a hastily planned drug robbery on Bloomington’s west side.
Egerton Dover, 20, of Bloomington, was shot and killed just before 5 a.m. Dec. 5, 2018, inside his home in the 800 block of West Jefferson Street. Prosecutors said Dover was targeted for robbery after attending a gathering at a Normal apartment the night before. Dover had traveled to Champaign-Urbana to acquire marijuana, and some at the gathering were upset he did not share, said prosecutor Mary Lawson.
After Dover left the gathering, Grampsas and three other young men went to Dover’s home to rob him; Grampsas was the driver, using his grandmother’s car, Lawson said.
“They took Egerton’s life over weed,” Lawson said in her opening statement.
Defense attorney Steve Skelton said Grampsas, now 20, was not present at the shooting. He said testimony will place him at another residence in the early morning hours of Dec. 5.
The two men who actually entered Dover’s home that morning were Tyjuan Bruce and Curtis Hairston Jr., said Skelton. Bruce also is charged with Dover’s murder; his trial begins Aug. 10. Hairston was killed in a separate shooting in Decatur on Jan. 4, 2019, just one month after Dover’s death. Bruce and Grampsas were arrested a few days later.
In his opening statement, Skelton acknowledged that Grampsas lied to investigators about whether he even knew Hairston. He said that’s because Grampsas was afraid. If Hairston and Bruce were willing to kill Dover over marijuana, Grampsas felt they’d certainly kill him to protect themselves, Skelton said.
“He had every reason in the world to be afraid,” he told jurors. “What would they be willing to do to someone who snitches them out?”
Prosecutors said Dover’s front door was kicked in, and he was found dead in his kitchen. Marijuana was found in his bedroom.
The state’s first witnesses Tuesday were the first Bloomington Police officers who responded to the scene. Pathologist Dr. Scott Denton was scheduled to take the stand late Tuesday morning.
Grampsas’ trial is expected to last until early next week.
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