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Trial begins for man accused of murdering two GA men in Panama City Beach last year

Published: Jan. 19, 2022 at 6:52 PM CST
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - The trial for a man accused of shooting and killing two men almost a year ago in Panama City Beach started Wednesday.

Ruez Hicks, 20, of Georgia, is facing charges in connection with the deaths of Robert Keith Gilmore and Robert Shawn Fowler on January 26, 2021. Wednesday, opening arguments from both attorneys were made to the jury.

Bay County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a call of an unresponsive male on the porch of a home on Del Mar Drive. They found Gilmore dead with a gunshot wound and back pocket ripped. While clearing the scene inside the home, deputies found Fowler dead in the back bedroom. Photo evidence of the crime scene, gun, bullet casings, and surveillance video was shown during the hearing.

“The state is able to overcome that with evidence, credible evidence, so I ask that you listen carefully to the testimony. Don’t be in a hurry to make a decision for this case,” Defense Attorney Matthew Meredith said.

Multiple witnesses were called to the stand, including a neighbor who called 911.

Deputies say a break in the case happened on January 29th when Hicks used Gilmore’s Cashapp card at a dollar store in Panama City Beach. Deputies interviewed Hicks and say during the interview Hicks said he did not mean to shoot.

Hicks is facing two counts of second-degree murder, one count of robbery with a firearm, and one count of burglary with a firearm.

A second arrest was made in the case. Quantavious Dion Burns, of Panama City Beach, was arrested and charged with accessory after the fact, premeditated murder.

According to officials, Hicks gave Burns the gun used for the murder and it was found at a mobile home on Verona Street. Along with the gun, the articles of clothing Hicks wore were also found.

The second half of the trial is set for Thursday morning.

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