Testimony: Surveillance video from hospital, strip club link Prichard man to murder
MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - Investigators used surveillance video from a hospital and a strip club to link a Prichard man to a fatal shooting that took place early in the morning on Easter morning, a detective testified Wednesday.
Mobile County District Judge George Hardesty determined prosecutors had sufficient evidence to send murder and drug charges against Algernon Devon Grayson to a grand jury. The judge also denied bail. Mobile County Assistant District Attorney Lauren Walsh argued against bail, noting that the 22-year-old Prichard man at the time of the shooting was out on bond for a charge of attempting to elude police.
In addition, Walsh said, Grayson has a previous homicide conviction. Initially accused of murder for the 2016 shooting death of a 15-year-old, he later pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
“This is the second time he’s killed someone in about six years. … He, essentially, is a drug-dealing murderer,” she said.
Detective Kenyada Taylor testified that the Easter shooting resulted from an altercation that developed between two different groups of people who had gone to the University of South Alabama Health System’s University Hospital to check on separate shooting victims. She testified that a woman who was with Grayson spit on the victim, Robert McMillian, who had gone to the hospital to check on his son’s best friend.
That’s when the dispute turned physical, Taylor said. She testified that Grayson pulled a gun and fired 12 times at point-blank range, hitting McMillian four times.
Taylor said black-and-white surveillance video from the helicopter pad shows the shooting. She testified there is color video from another angle. By matching the two video feeds side by side, she said, investigators determined that the shooter was wearing a gray T-shirt and orange jeans.
That matches the clothing that Gayson was wearing hours earlier at the Lotus Gentleman’s Club in Prichard, Taylor said.
The detective offered the following timeline, based on the surveillance video time stamps: Grayson entered the club at about 2:30 a.m. and left at 3:42 a.m. A shooting in Prichard occurred at 3:55 a.m., which prompted Grayson to go to the hospital, arriving at 4:16 a.m. Taylor said the altercation began at 4:16 a.m. and that Grayson intervened at 4:34 a.m. The shots came at 4:35 a.m., the detective said.
Taylor testified that the defendant denied that he was at the hospital or the club. But she said offices confronted Grayson with images from the security footage.
“He laughed and said, ‘That’s my lookalike. You know, everyone has a twin,’” she testified.
Taylor testified that officers also obtained text messages from Grayson’s phone showing that a woman texted him at 3:15 a.m. asking where he was. “In Lotus,” he responded, according to the detective’s testimony.
Defense attorney Chase Dearman pointed to the detective’s testimony that none of the people who were in the University Hospital parking lot during the shooting have been able to identify his client as the shooter.
“There’s not one living witness that has seen him at the hospital or, according to her, at the strip club,” he said outside the courtroom.
Although a judge sentenced Grayson to 15 years in prison for the manslaughter conviction, her served only about five years before prison officials released him. Walsh said she had no explanation for why Grayson ended his prison term so quickly.
“I would ask you to ask the Department of Corrections about that, because it’s not a decision that we made,” she said.
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