Probable cause found in Deliezha Gravely preliminary hearing

·6 min read

May 13—PRINCETON — A county magistrate ruled Thursday that a case involving a suspect in a May 3 drive-by shooting on a Blue-field street had probable cause and sent it to the grand jury.

Deliezha Devonte Gravely, 27, of Bluefield came before Magistrate Mike Flanigan for a preliminary hearing. Gravely has been charged with attempted murder, malicious wounding, prohibited person with a firearm, wanton endangerment and conspiracy. A 7-year-old boy and a 16-year-old boy were injured May 3 during a drive-by shooting on Frederick Street.

Detective-Lieutenant K.L. Adams of the Bluefield Police Department testified that he was called to the police station after the Frederick Street shooting was reported. When he arrived, Detective K.L. Ross and other officers who had been at the scene shared what they had heard. Adams said that he told them to get witness statements. At that time, a witness had mentioned Gravely's name and said that he might have been present when the shooting took place.

Gravely came to the police station and said that he heard police were looking for him, Adams testified while being questioned by Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Lauren Lynch. Adams stated that Gravely agreed to speak with him, and admitted to being at the scene while carrying an AR-15 rifle. Gravely said he tried to fire the rifle, but it would not go off.

Lynch asked dams if Gravely could have a firearm, and Adams said he could not due to being a convicted felon. Gravely denied being in the drive-by shooting's suspect vehicle, a black Nissan Maxima with Texas plates.

Gravely was allowed to leave because while he was not allowed to carry a firearm, the police were focused on investigating a drive-by shooting in which a 7-year-old boy and a 16-year-old boy were injured, Adams said.

Adams pointed to his face and said a bullet fragment went through the 7-year-old's cheek, and the 16-year-old was grazed by a bullet. EMS personnel treated both boys at the scene. A third boy has some injuries when he fell down during the shooting.

Witnesses came forward and provided video evidence, Adams said. One video came from a home surveillance system and another was from a vehicle's dash camera. In one, Gravely could be seen "hanging out" of the suspect vehicle's passenger-side window with the AR-15. Video evidence also showed muzzle flashes coming from the passenger side.

A backseat passenger wearing a mask can be seen along with a driver who had "short dreads" or dreadlocks, but they could not be identified. The search for the two other suspects is continuing, he said.

Four different types of shell casings and bullets were found at the scene. They have been sent to the West Virginia State Police crime lab, Adams said.

Tips from social media helped police locate the Nissan at Crescent View Apartments in Bluefield, Va., Adams testified. The seats had been pulled up and "a lot of what looked like laundry detergent" was found in it. The Nissan was an Enterprise rental car.

One tip was that one person in the vehicle was Caleb Merritt, a known associate of Gravely, Adams said in his criminal complaint. According to the tip, two people cleaned out the Nissan and removed items before getting into a silver Mazda. The Nissan has been impounded and will be sent to the State Police for testing.

Gravely was found in front the home of his girlfriend's mother and brought back to the police station, Adams said.

Attorney Joe Harvey, who represented Gravely at the preliminary hearing, asked Adams what led to the shooting. Adams testified that he spoke with a 16-year-old boy who is related to Gravely's girlfriend who stated that two other boys "had been trying to jump him" or fight him. The boy said that he called his sister and that was "how Gravely ended up being there."

The 16-year-old boy's mother drove him and two nephews around, looking for the two juveniles that had been trying to fight her son, Adams said.

In the criminal complaint, Adams said the mother stated how when they reached Stovall Street, they found the two juveniles and "advised them to get it over with and fight." She then said that the two juveniles brandished firearms, and one of them ran away. The mother and boys then drove to Frederick Street where they saw the juvenile, who was "running with a handgun in his hand," and that her son and nephews exited her vehicle to try and fight with him, but he ran from the area and jumped fence. This is when she saw the Nissan approaching and saw Gravely "produce a weapon from the passenger window" and start shooting in their direction. The mother stated that the driver was also shooting out of the passenger window.

Harvey asked Adams if any member of the families involved had been charged. Adams testified that Child Protective Services was investigating, and that charges were pending.

"What they did was stupid, also," Adams said.

Harvey inquired whether the videos and a recording of witnesses' statements and a statement Gravely had made were retained. Adams replied that they had been preserved.

Gravely said that he had "broken down" the AR-15 and threw it into the lake at Kee Dam, Adams stated. A dive team and magnets were used to search for the rifle, but it has not been found. The search is continuing.

Detective Ross testified at the preliminary hearing that he "observed a pretty chaotic scene" when he arrived at Frederick Street soon after the shooting was reported. About 15 shells were collected at the scene; these were sent to the State Police crime lab.

Ross said that he performed at GSR (gunshot residue) test on Gravely. Harvey asked Ross if GRS tests were performed on other people at the scene, and he said that they were not.

Lynch asked Magistrate Flanigan to find probable cause. By Gravely's admission, he had a firearm at the scene. There was evidence that he had shot from a car at multiple people and "attempted to hurt somebody or kill somebody," and there are videos of the shooting.

Harvey argued that one charge, malicious assault on driver or coachman, was not valid since it requires "actual bodily injury," and that what the state alleges should be wanton endangerment. Nobody driving a vehicle was injured during the shooting.

Lynch said that the malicious wounding charges are for the two boys who were injured, and that the charge would be corrected before the case went before the Mercer County Grand Jury.

Flanigan ruled that the case had probable cause and sent it to the grand jury. Gravely is being held without bond at the Southern Regional Jail.

Adams said that the search for the two other suspects is continuing.

— Contact Greg Jordan at gjordan@bdtonline.com

Contact Greg Jordan at gjordan@bdtonline.com