Scott Vincent Sica could face the death penalty in his trial for the slaying of Jonesville police Sgt. Greg Martin in 1996.
Two additional men were charged with first-degree murder in the Martin case on Jan. 28. When Brian Eugene Whittaker took the stand for his first appearance he shared his version of what took place the night of Oct. 5, 1996. Whittaker claimed that Sica was the shooter in the crime.
Sica had previously pleaded not guilty.
Whittaker is the only eyewitness to the shooting.
According to statements made by Whittaker during his cross examination by the defense, the three men had plans to rob a Huddle House in Jonesville, but their robbery was nixed after an employee shut the back door of the restaurant that the trio planned to use as an entry.
All three men were charged with attempted armed robbery with a dangerous weapon and conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon.
Whittaker said that following the botched robbery he and Sica parted ways with Oldroyd. Whittaker and Sica started to leave town in a stolen Dodge truck when Sgt. Gregory Martin stopped them on I-77 in Jonesville. Whittaker claims that before Martin approached the window, Sica had shoved a handgun down the front of his pants.
Whittaker said that Martin asked the two men to step out of the vehicle while he searched the interior. Martin then pulled out a duffel bag containing masks and robbery paraphernalia that Whittaker and Sica had used for their crimes, according to Whittaker. Sica then opened fire on Martin, shooting him at point blank range, according to Whittaker.
Whittaker said that he and Sica then fled the scene and headed to Tennessee. According to Whittaker, they stopped in Gatlinburg to meet with Sica’s parents and then travelled to Nashville where they stayed with Sica’s grandmother. Whittaker claimed that he was too afraid of Sica after what happened that night to try to part ways with him.
“I was afraid of Scott after what he did to officer Sgt. Martin,” Whittaker said on the stand. “It was always on the back of my mind that he would shoot me too.”
Whittaker said that he moved out of Sica’s grandmother’s house when she insisted that he start paying rent. He moved in with one of Sica’s friends in Lebanon, Tenn. Whittaker said that Sica moved into his friend’s residence not long after he moved. Whittaker claims he stayed in Lebanon for a few months before reconnecting with his parents in Florida.
Whittaker claims he had a good relationship with his parents until he, Sica and Oldroyd committed a robbery of a Home Depot while living in Florida. Whittaker said that after a few months in Lebanon he decided to move to Kansas and that he and his father reconnected. His father then begged him to come home so they could get it all figured out, Whittaker said.
Whittaker said that he never spoke a word about what happened that night on I-77, even while on the drive home with his father from Kansas to Florida.
“I just never spoke it aloud,” Whittaker said tearfully on the stand. “I never told anybody; I just held it inside.”
Whittaker said that he served time in prison in 1998 for the Home Depot robbery that he and Sica committed in Florida. He claimed that he never mentioned the murder of Sgt. Gregory Martin because he “wanted that part of his life to be over” and that he “didn’t want to live that life anymore.”
After serving a two-year prison sentence for the Home Depot robbery he returned to work and continued his life in Cape Coral, Fla. as normally as he could, eventually marrying.
In October of 2012 FBI agents came to Whittaker’s home after they linked him to the crimes committed by Sica. Whittaker said that the agents asked him about the stolen truck and his relationship with Sica.
According to the defense Whittaker told police that Sica would try to blame him for everything and that he swore to God that he didn’t shoot.
The defense asked Whittaker if that statement was in response to questioning and Whittaker said that it was not.
“These were not in response to questions, that was volunteered information?” asked Sica’s attorney Dan Dolan of Winston-Salem.
“Yes,” replied Whittaker.
Whittaker said that he willingly provided DNA samples and fingerprints at his local police department after the FBI agents came to his house. He claims that he told the agents everything that happened on Oct. 5, 1996.
“Everything I said was true,” Whittaker claimed on the stand.
The defense questioned Whittaker about what he was asked off the record during the DNA sampling and fingerprints. Whittaker claims that he did not speak about the event related to the crime with anyone, but that the agents and that all of their conversations related to the case were recorded while in the police station.
Whittaker said agents release him after providing fingerprints and a DNA sample and answering additional questions from the FBI.
Whittaker claims that agents told him that he would end up serving time, but they didn’t mention that he would or might be sentenced to death.
Whittaker claims that no promises have been made as to the outcome of the case by anyone involved in the case and that to his knowledge his lawyer has not been made a deal either.
Judge Edgar B. Gregory presided over the hearing and ruled that the state’s argument met requirements for a death penalty case. He set a review hearing for June 3.
Marc Peterson Oldroyd, the second suspect arrested on Jan. 28, was given a first appearance hearing and Judge Gregory ruled that he be held without bond due to his first degree murder charges. Oldroyd did not speak during his hearing.
Both Oldroyd and Whittaker will face a Rule 24 hearing that will decide whether they too will face the death penalty. Their next trial dates are set for March 25.
Reach Lindsay Craven at 679-2341 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.