WILMINGTON — A Wilmington man will serve a life time in prison for a shooting in February 2015 that killed 34-year-old Robert Scott, a former Marine.
A New Hanover County jury found Tyler Greenfield, 20, guilty Thursday on charges of first-degree murder and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill – inflicting serious injury. The verdict came following a three-week trial in New Hanover County Superior Court before Superior Court Judge Phyllis Gorham.
The shooting occurred at a duplex at 211 Queen St. in Wilmington on Feb. 2, 2015, according to Assistant District Attorney Timothy Severo. The shooting happened at around 8 p.m., when Scott and another female, who was a teenager at the time of the incident, were shot during a drug transaction at the home.
According to Severo, Greenfield and his co-defendant in the case – 19-year-old Cashaun Keyonis Harvin – went to the Queen Street home to purchase marijuana. An argument occurred between the victim and the defendant, which became “so loud” that the female came out of her bedroom and drew a firearm.
Greenfield disarmed the woman at gunpoint, while threatening to kill Scott. Once the weapon was down, Severo said that Greenfield opened fire on Scott, shooting the victim three times. The female victim was also shot and struck by several bullets.
The teenager and Scott were taken to New Hanover Regional Medical Center for treatment. Scott died at the hospital.
In the days following the incident, Greenfield and Harvin were arrested by detectives with the Wilmington Police Department. Through the course of the investigation, detectives found that Greenfield had first called Scott to get the marijuana, which was the last phone number he dialed prior to the drug deal. During the course of the incident, Greenfield somehow dialed the number again. It proved to be a costly mistake for Greenfield, but beneficial to prosecutors.
“The part about this case that makes it so different than a lot of other cases is the defendant’s cell phone … inadvertently called Robert Scott,” Severo said. “It was recorded. It was the common ‘butt dial’ or ‘ghost dial,’ which captured on that phone call the words — and we played it in court a number of times — ‘I’m going to shoot you in the the head if she doesn’t put down her gun,’ or words to that effect.”
Detectives also determined that Scott managed to get the firearm from the female and use that firearm to shoot and injure the defendant.
“This shows the secondary dangers of drugs … a number of cases with people selling marijuana are robbed,” Severo said.
Prosecutors also alleged at trial that Greenfield attempted to go to a hospital in Pender County to evade authorities after the incident.
“The verdict speaks for it’s self … Robert Scott got a life sentence for trying to protect him and his girlfriend,” Severo said.
Severo also said that not only does this incident still affect the female victim to this day, but several of the residents in the Queen Street duplex, one with a small child, had to leave their homes for good.
“One of the people who was downstairs with their small child, had bullets going through walls and doors. The woman left the home the next day because of that,” Severo said. “That’s the sad part about all this.”
Severo commended the female victim in the case for her testimony.
“She was there and shot. And then she had to get on the stand,” Severo said. “I admire her courage … to look the person that shot her in the eyes. It takes a strong person to do that.”
The community members who were witnesses to the case also had a part in the trial. Severo thanked them for their cooperation during the investigation and at trial, something he said doesn’t happen very frequently in cases such as these.
“To show how strong that community is. Everyone called 911. Everyone was willing to come in and testify. They were willing to say what they knew,” he said.
Severo and Assistant District Attorney Bradley Matthews prosecuted the case for the state. Greenfield was represented by Attorney H. Lawrence Shotwell.
Havrin’s case is still pending in New Hanover County Superior Court. He is facing charges of first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and robbery with a dangerous weapon. A trial date in his case has not been set.
Editor’s note: This story has been altered to add the name of the assistant district attorney who helped prosecute the case.