Emotions ran high Wednesday outside a Washington County courtroom after a first-degree murder preliminary hearing, and law enforcement herded two families away from each other.
It happened after the preliminary hearing for Marcus Gergish, who is charged with first-degree felony murder of Timothy Peregoy Sr.
Gergish, 34, 1206 Flora Ave., Johnson City, is accused of gunning down Peregoy Sr. in the parking lot of Timothy Peregoy Jr.’s apartment around 12:03 a.m. April 3.
The younger Peregoy was the state’s only witness in the hearing. Sessions Judge Robert Lincoln heard the evidence then bound the case over to a grand jury.
The verbal encounter between the Peregoy family and people present to support Gergish happened in the courthouse lobby.
The Peregoys had left the building, but returned and walked past Gergish’s family. Dawna Peregoy said someone in the Gergish group threatened her son.
At that point, officers stepped in to prevent any further interaction. The Gergishes were escorted out, and the Peregoys were taken to another area of the building before they were allowed to leave.
Peregoy Jr. testified Gergish came to see him the night of the shooting — and was wearing a black hoodie and a black cap backward on his head — and wanted Suboxone strips. Suboxone is used to treat addiction to opiates, which are prescribed for severe pain and often abused like the pain medication.
Peregoy said he didn’t have any Suboxone, but that his mother did.
“He bought the strips off my mother ... she got $10,” Peregoy testified.
About that time Peregoy Sr. woke up and there was a conversation about some pills before Gergish left the apartment, the younger Peregoy testified.
A few minutes later, Peregoy’s parents and brother prepared to leave.
“My father and mother got up ... we told each other bye and that we loved each other. They walked out. It wasn’t two minutes later I heard screaming,” he said.
Peregoy said it was his mother screaming and when he ran outside he saw she was being “pistol whipped” by someone.
Another person — who Peregoy said was Gergish — was on the driver’s side of his dad’s truck with a black pistol pointed at the man.
The man with the gun had a black bandana over his face, but “I heard his voice, saw his clothes,” and that’s how Peregoy knew it was Gergish, he said. “He was telling my father to give him all his stuff and to ‘give it up. Give it up.’ ’’
Later in his testimony, Peregoy said he heard his father say, “I ain’t got no money.”
“When he seen me coming up the hill he drawed the gun on me,” he said. Peregoy Sr. grabbed the man’s arm as the younger Peregoy turned to get his son and fiance back inside the apartment.
Just as Peregoy Jr. stepped inside the residence, “I heard two gunshots.” He ran out to discover his father had been shot and saw two men running from the scene and his brother running after them.
Peregoy Jr. said he jumped in his father’s truck and drove in the same direction as the men running away, but they ducked between two buildings and got away.
He picked up his brother and they rushed to their father’s side. “We went straight back and were saying our good-byes to our father.
“I said, ‘Pop did you recognize him, did you recognize him? He shook his head,” Peregoy said, indicating his father had recognized the man who shot him. “I asked was it the same person who was at my house,” and his father acknowledged it was.
“Then approximately four minutes later he died in my arms,” the younger Peregoy said.
On cross examination, defense attorney Patrick Denton asked Peregoy if he was sure Gergish was the shooter, why he had asked his father who it was.
Peregoy said he just wanted to be sure.
Some time later in the morning, Peregoy said he talked to Gergish on the phone and Gergish denied shooting Peregoy Sr. Peregoy said he urged Gergish to call police and turn himself in, but that apparently never happened. Gergish was arrested the next night.
Police investigators have declined to say if they’ve recovered the weapon used in the shooting, and there was no testimony Wednesday to answer that question.
Gergish remains jailed in lieu of a $100,000 bond. His next court appearance is in Criminal Court July 22.