From left, Chavez Hunter, Marcus Gergish, and Joshua Gergish appeared in Criminal Court on Monday. (Becky Campbell/Johnson City Press)
Three men charged in a fatal shooting last year — allegedly over drugs — are now set to stand trial this summer.
Marcus Gergish, 35; Joshua Gergish, 31; and Chavez Hunter, 22, all of Johnson City, are charged with first-degree murder in the April 3, 2013, shooting death of Timothy Peregoy Sr.
All three defendants were in Criminal Court on Monday with their attorneys — David Robbins for Marcus Gergish, Jim Bowman for Chavez Hunter and Assistant Public Defender Bill Donaldson for Josh Gergish — but only two left court with representation.
Donaldson had filed a motion last week asking Judge Robert Cupp to release him from the case because the public defender’s office has represented several witnesses involved in the case in the past.
Cupp granted that motion, and Josh Gergish will be back in court Thursday for Cupp to appoint another attorney to the case.
Cupp also set a trial date in the case for the week of July 21, but that doesn’t take into consideration a pending motion from two defendants asking the cases be tried separately.
Currently, Marcus Gergish’s charge is separate from his brother’s and Hunter’s because he was charged soon after with Peregoy’s murder and it wasn’t until months later that Josh Gergish and Hunter were also charged in the murder. But prosecutors want to combine Marcus Gergish’s case with the joint case of Josh Gergish and Hunter.
Assistant District Attorney Erin McArdle filed the motion earlier this year asking Cupp to join all the cases together. Oh Monday, McArdle said she’s not seen anything that would prevent the men from being tried together.
But at least two of the defense attorneys have disagreed in writing and want the cases tried separately.
In Robbins’ motion for Marcus Gergish, he said he believes that in a joint trial, the state will officer proof about the conduct of Josh Gergish, and it would reflect negatively on Marcus Gergish.
Josh Gergish also faces three counts of attempted aggravated robbery as well as coercion of a witness that is related to the homicide.
In Donaldson’s motion for Josh Gergish, he states that a “joint trial will be very confusing and will make it very difficult for a jury to make a just and proper determination concerning any allegation against Joshua Gergish.
Bowman said he assumes “the state is aware of the hearsay problem. If they can try the case without violating those rules,” he’s fine with trying the cases together.
Bowman, did however, remind Cupp he had asked for a speedy trial, which Cupp acknowledged.
Marcus Gergish was arrested within hours of Peregoy’s death outside an apartment complex on Nathanial Drive. The shooting and attempted robbery were preceded by a drug transaction in Peregoy Sr.’s son’s apartment, Johnson City police investigators said.
When Peregoy Sr. and his wife, Dawna Peregoy, started to leave to go home, they were attacked at their vehicle, witness statements said.
Witnesses to the shooting said they heard an altercation and saw Peregoy sitting in the driver’s seat of his vehicle and Marcus Gergish pointing a handgun at him.
Marcus Gergish apparently saw the witnesses, pointed the gun at them and then back at Peregoy Sr. They overheard Marcus Gergish tell Peregoy to “Give it up, give it up,” before witnesses heard two shots. Marcus Gergish and another person ran from the scene, police said.
Prosecutors believe Marcus Gergish went into the apartment and Joshua Gergish and Chavez Hunter were waiting outside. When the Peregoys went outside, they were attacked.
In July, Joshua Gergish was arrested on two other warrants — aggravated robbery and an outstanding warrant charging him with coercion of a witness.
The coercion case stems from the Peregoy case, where Joshua Gergish is accused of following a young girl through the apartment complex where the shooting occurred and threatening her family. The girl’s father is reportedly a witnesses in the case.
Hunter also has other charges unrelated to the murder. He was already jailed on one count each of especially aggravated robbery and aggravated robbery.
Hunter and two other men are accused of two home invasion robberies on Southwest Avenue and West Maple Street.
In the murder case, Marcus Gergish is being held on $100,000 bond. Joshua Gergish and Hunter are each being held on $500,000 bond.
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