There has been a major change in a murder trial that was supposed to have begun in Bay County Circuit Court Monday.
Calvin Grubbs will still stand trial - but not for premeditated first degree murder.
Grubbs and two other men were charged in the September 2012 murder of Marc Logan.
Police say Logan was shot in the head when the men robbed him during a dice game at a home in Panama City.
Over the past weekend, prosecutors learned tests show Grubbs did not fire the shot that killed Logan. Now they now say it was Jabarus Pittman. That dramatic discovery also changed the terms of a plea deal Pittman had worked out with prosecutors,.
Now, Pittman entered a straight-up plea Monday to manslaughter with a firearm after ballistics tests in a murder trial scheduled for this week identified him as the actual killer.
Pittman, 17, of 1406 Joe Louis Lane, Apt. G, Calvin Grubbs and Raphael Morris on Sept. 17 attempted to rob Marc Logan and Anotonio Edwards at gunpoint. But the robbery attempt resulted in massive gunfire as Grubbs opened up with an AK-47 assault rifle, spraying bullets throughout the residential neighborhood.
Pittman attempted to run from the area and saw Edwards make a move toward him. Pittman fired a warning shot from his 380 semi-automatic handgun in Edward’s direction as he was running. The bullet missed Edwards but hit Logan, 41, in the head and killed him.
Grubbs is scheduled for trial this week on charges of first-degree murder, robbery with a firearm and two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm. It was originally thought that Logan was killed by a bullet from Grubbs’ assault rifle, but ballistics tests performed recently in preparation for trial found that Logan was killed by Pittman’s handgun.
Before the ballistics tests were done, Pittman entered a plea in November to robbery and agreed to testify truthfully if called to either of his co-defendant’s trials. The plea put him in prison for seven years. But once the test results were discovered, Pittman was facing a new charge of manslaughter with a firearm.
He decided Monday to plead to the new charge, and an attempted robbery with a firearm, and agreed again to testify in Grubbs’ trial this week.
Grubbs’ charges were revised to reflect the new evidence. Instead of facing a charge of premeditated first-degree murder, Grubbs is charged with felony first-degree murder – meaning he was engaged in a robbery when someone involved was killed. The state doesn’t have to prove that Grubbs intended to kill Logan, only that Logan died while Grubbs was attempting to rob him.
The penalty is the same, life in prison, if Grubbs is convicted of the charge. Pittman faces up to 35 years in prison and his penalty will be left to Circuit Judge Elijah Smiley to decide on April 15.
Testimony in Grubbs’ trial is expected to begin Tuesday morning and go into Wednesday.