WHITE RIVER JUNCTION, Vt. (WCAX) A Springfield man charged with shooting a neighbor to death was found guilty Tuesday of voluntary manslaughter. The jury was unable to reach an agreement on the more serious charge of second-degree murder.
Police say Gregory Smith shot Wesley Wing, 37, in the spring of 2015 after an argument. The verdict came as a disappointment to Wing's family members who were in court for the jury's decision.
"I'm just pretty let down," said Brooke Wing, Wesley Wing's oldest daughter.
She was in court Tuesday morning, along with her mother and grandmother, to hear a jury announce that Smith was guilty of voluntary manslaughter. "I just feel like he took the most important person in my life," Wing said.
Wing was shot to death down the street from his Springfield home. According to court documents, he confronted Smith's girlfriend, Wendy Morris, calling her a heroin addict and telling her to get out of the neighborhood. A short time later, as Wing walked down the street, he was shot four times by Smith. But moments before the fatal confrontation remains in dispute. Smith says he acted in self- defense after being attacked by Wing.
"There is no way that he could have even gotten close to that car. There wasn't enough time. I'm pure disappointed," Wing said.
Morris and Smith took off after the shooting and were captured nearly a week later at a remote hunting camp in southern Vermont. She served six months for obstruction of justice. Smith was charged with second-degree murder, but the jury couldn't agree, finding him guilty of the lesser charge.
"We just expected this to come out differently. Wes was great and we all miss him. He was a great dad, a great husband, a great provider," said Wesley's wife, Sheila Wing. She says he was also the kind of person who wasn't afraid to stand up to someone to do what he thought was right. "He was amazing. I don't know what else to say. We just miss him."
Smith faced the possibility of life behind bars if convicted of second-degree murder. Now, the most he can serve is 15 years. That will be determined at his sentencing.