Friends and family testified Wednesday morning Victor Gantt was high on drugs
and not himself in the days leading up to May 2, the day he killed Middletown
resident Leroy Jones with an ax.
The jury of 6 men and 6 women found Gantt guilty of aggravated murder,
aggravated burglary, aggravated robbery and tampering with evidence last week
in Butler County and are now charged with recommending a sentence. The death
penalty is one of their choices.
Gantt, 26, smashed through a French door with an ax at the home of the
75-year-old Jones last May, struck Jones 6 times in the head and then trashed
the house. After he relaxed on Jones’ bed and watched a porn movie he stole
from an acquaintance earlier that morning and Gantt tried to burn the house
down to cover his crime. All Gantt took from the house was $150 in pocket
Several family members testified Gantt called them after the crime to tell
them. Kenny Murphy, who admits he used to smoke marijuana with his baby
brother, told the jury he didn’t believe Gantt when he said he thought he
killed a man.
“He said I just did something really crazy...,” he said. “I didn’t mean to do
His half sister Sarah Vincent, who with her military husband got custody of
Gantt in 2000, said she received a couple calls from Gantt on May 2 and he
sounded “bizarre.” It appears Gantt might have gone back to the scene of the
crime, because in one call she said he told her, “Praise God, praise God the
house is still there, it didn’t happen.”
On Tuesday almost all the testimony centered on Gantt’s father Philip Gantt,
Sr., and who was described as a tyrannical and brutal man he was.
When Prosecutor Mike Gmoser was questioning Gantt’s friend Patrick Tallon, he
kept asking him about the father and the relationship he had with the son. An
obviously irritated Tallon shot back with “what does all this have to do with
his father?” Gmoser replied, “Good question, excellent question, but we’ll
leave for others.”
Psychologist Bobbie Hopes is expected to be the final witness today and closing
arguments are scheduled for Thursday morning.
(source: Middletown Journal)