The interaction took place just before Criminal Court Judge Robert Cupp took the bench, but it was clear when he arrived that he already had been told what happened.
The first thing Cupp did when he took the bench was call up the Peregoy and Gergish families. Both were there for a hearing in a first-degree murder case in which Marcus Gergish, brother Joshua Gergish and a third man, Chavez Hunter, are charged in the April 3 shooting death of Timothy Peregoy Sr.
He was shot outside in the parking lot of his son’s apartment building on Nathaniel Drive after an alleged drug deal inside the residence. Police investigators said Marcus Gergish bought Suboxone, a synthetic opiate used to help users withdraw from drugs, then allegedly jumped Peregoy Sr., and his wife as they were walking to their vehicle to leave.
Cupp put members of the Gergish family on one side of the courtroom and the Peregoys on the other side, then gave them a stern talking to.
“If I hear of any more conduct like what’s gone on out here,” then the families are likely to end up in jail themselves, Cupp told them.
“I’m not going to tell you again. This is the last time. This is a civil place and it’s going to stay that way,” he said. He also ordered the two Gergish relatives to remove T-shirts they wore in support of the brothers.
Prior to court’s beginning, two of the Gergish brothers’ family members entered the courtroom wearing black T-shirts with a slogan on the front that read, “Support team for Josh and Marcus.” There was also printing on the back of the shirts that proclaimed support for the men.
That apparently angered the Peregoy family and some harsh words were uttered.
Additional sheriff’s deputies are usually on alert when the Gergish brothers have a hearing because of past interactions between the families in the courtroom.
With the issue addressed, Cupp went on to other items on the docket, but soon returned to the case to learn the status of it.
The three defense attorneys — Jim Bowman, who represents Hunter; David Robbins, for Marcus Gergish; and Bill Donaldson, representing Joshua Gergish — all asked Cupp for a “speedy trial” in the matter. They also said they had not received requested information in the case — because the District Attorney’s Office still doesn’t have the Johnson City Police Department’s investigative file.
“They never do,” Cupp quipped.
Assistant District Attorney General Erin McArdle told Cupp the case investigator had some personal issues in December that have carried over into this year.
Also, McArdle said, Joshua Gergish and Hunter were not indicted until November, several months after Marcus Gergish. McArdle asked Cupp for two weeks to allow time to get the complete file.
“I will give you until March 17 to have all the discovery (information) in to the attorneys,” Cupp said.
Marcus Gergish has a $107,000 bond, Joshua Gergish has a $555,000 bond and Hunter is being held without bond. Hunter and Joshua Gergish both have additional charges in other cases.
Cupp, who has not made an official public announcement that he will retire from the bench, made reference to that possibility Thursday.
“I would really like to try this case before I leave here,” he said.