CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina minister with a violent past is being tried on charges that he wounded an ex-girlfriend and killed her new boyfriend with close-range gunshots.
Tim Crumitie faces charges that he ambushed the couple in August 2016 before dawn at their Charlotte apartment, according to The Charlotte Observer . He's charged with murder, attempted murder, assault and kidnapping.
Prosecutors say the former pastor of a Kannapolis church waited behind the door of the couple's apartment and shot Michael Gretsinger twice in the head, with the man dying days later. Authorities say he kidnapped his former girlfriend, Kimberly Cherry, eventually shooting her too, but she survived.
On Monday, prosecutors played jurors a recording of Cherry speaking to a 911 operator after she eventually got free.
Her voice sounds weak when she answers the operator's question about who shot her.
"His name is Tim," she said. Cherry is expected to testify as a witness.
Mecklenburg County Assistant District Attorney Clayton Jones told the jury that after shooting Gretsinger, Crumitie bound Cherry and drove her to his Rowan County home, then back to the area around her apartment. Jones said the defendant took her to a construction site and shot her twice in the head, but she survived and eventually got the help of a neighbor to call 911.
Jones told jurors that the case against Crumitie boils down to: "A nightmare when the relationship fades."
But defense attorney Mike Kabakoff told jurors that prosecutors' case was not supported by the facts. He said that detectives also failed to follow other possible leads in a rush to blame his client.
Describing prosecutors' request to convict his client of murder, Kabakoff said "that extraordinary request is not backed by the extraordinary evidence required."
It remains to be seen how much jurors will hear about Crumitie's past, but prosecutors received a favorable ruling on Monday from Superior Court Judge Hugh Lewis. The ruling by Lewis cleared the way for prosecutors to discuss that Crumitie served eight years in the 1990s for armed robbery and other crimes.
Crumitie was also charged in 2005 with the murder of a man who operated a flooring company next to the Kannapolis church where he was pastor. Crumitie spent five years in jail while the case was pending. Authorities eventually dropped the charges after saying they didn't have enough evidence to proceed to trial.
Eight years later, Crumitie was present when his wife and another man died of gunshots at his Concord home, though no charges were filed. Crumitie told police that a robber shot his wife, then shot Crumitie in the hand before he wrestled the gun away and killed the robber in self-defense.