Police & Courts

Opening statements held in Gavin case

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Jan. 14, 2020 7:30 pm Updated: Jan. 15, 2020 1:48 pm

QUINCY — Opening statements in the retrial of a Quincy man charged in the 2015 shooting death of a Quincy man were along the same lines as the first trial.

"Are you going to kill me while my family is upstairs?" Josh Jones, lead trial attorney for the Adams County state's attorney's office, told the jury before showing them a crime scene photo.

Those are reportedly the last words Carlous Wires said to Steven E. Gavin before Gavin allegedly shot him twice in the head.

Gavin, 57, faces four counts of first-degree murder and one count of armed robbery in the death of Wires.

Testimony in the retrial is set to start Wednesday morning.

Jones pointed to the "demons" that Wires had, including crack cocaine use, and that he sometimes sold marijuana.

Wire's daughter, Shelby Wires, would testify that her father used her phone the night of the shooting, and a little while later, someone called back asking, "Did somebody call for Steve?"

Jones noted other witnesses who said they saw Gavin in the neighborhood that night in his mother's car, as well one witness who said Gavin asked him for a change of clothes that night and gave him a $20 bill to buy him cigarettes and an iced tea. The bill reportedly had fresh blood on it.

Jones said Gavin told witnesses that he shot Wires in a disagreement over a drug purchase.

Gavin's attorney, Curtis Lovelace, said it was a tragedy that Carlous Wires was killed, but that Gavin did not kill him.

Lovelace said the physical evidence collected by the Quincy Police Department in the investigation wasn't connected to Gavin, and instead, investigators focused on "the word on the street."

"You will hear that someone -- not Steven Gavin -- tested positive with gunshot residue on their hands," Lovelace said.

Though he didn't refer to her by name, Wires' wife, Vivian Wires, tested positive for gunshot residue on her hands, which Jones said in his opening statement happened after she grabbed a bag of marijuana from the room where her husband was shot and threw it outside.

Lovelace said that police spent many hours searching for physical evidence and interviewing potential witnesses in the neighborhood.

"All that evidence they collected, none of it pointed at Steven Gavin," Lovelace said.

He pointed to witnesses who were admitted drug addicts, charged with crimes and "with reasons to lie and say Steven Gavin committed a crime he did not commit."

Gavin, wearing a blue dress shirt with a striped tie and gray sport coat, listened to opening statements with little reaction.

The jury of nine men and three women was sworn in before the start of opening statements. It was selected after being interviewed in panels of four Monday and Tuesday morning. There are three alternate jurors -- two men and one woman.

The prosecution's case is set to conclude Friday, with the jury likely to start deliberations Jan. 22.

The case is being tried for a second time after a mistrial was declared in the February 2019 trial after a jury was deadlocked after 13 hours of deliberations.

Gavin is being held in the Adams County Jail on $5 million bond in this case. He also is being held on $500,000 bond in unrelated cases.

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