Gregory’s first-degree murder case passed until Dec. 15

Roxie Murphy
Prosecutor anticipates going to jury trial in 2018

HERMANN — First-degree murder suspect Toby Franklin Gregory requested Friday that Gasconade County’s Division 1 Presiding Circuit Judge Gael D. Wood continue his case.

Gasconade County Prosecuting Attorney Mary E. Weston believes that the case may been continued even further, into 2018 possibly, if certain documents are not forthcoming.

Gregory was scheduled to plead guilty — for the second time in consecutive months — during his Oct. 20 court appearance. He sat stoic in an orange jail suit, with his hands bound around his waist and his feet shackled, while the judge called cases.

Following a brief review of the docket and cases with Weston, the court recessed for an hour to hear conferences. Midway through, Gregory’s lawyer, Brice J. Donnelly of Clayton, Mo., joined the judge behind closed doors. Gregory stared straight ahead during his absence.

Donnelly emerged about 15 minutes later, sat next to Gregory and whispered a conversation. Donnelly stood and said “I’m sorry” and exited the courtroom. Gregory was escorted out by deputies minutes later and returned to jail in Crawford County.

Donnelly told The Republican Tuesday afternoon that no plea deal was rejected. He would not elaborate if a deal was in the works, citing the on-going case.

“We just needed a new court date,” Donnelly said.

Following Gregory’s exit, Weston told The Republican the case was continued out to Dec. 15, and would most likely go to a jury trial. She recommended sentencing Gregory to life in prison, and said due to a gag order, she could not say more.

Gregory remains in custody on a $500,000 cash-only bond. He is also charged with armed criminal action after allegedly shooting his wife, Inez “Nessa” (Tulk) Gregory once in the upper body inside a room and multiple times in the head outside the Owensville Motor Inn on Aug. 4, 2016.

Video surveillance footage from the motel viewed by investigators that night showed Gregory attempted to take his own life by shooting himself underneath the chin. He sustained serious facial injuries and was airlifted for treatment to Mercy Hospital St. Louis.

He was charged Aug. 5, 2016, with first-degree murder and has been in custody of the Crawford County Sheriff’s Department in Steelville since his release from hospitalization. He pleaded not guilty and waived arraignment Aug. 17, 2016, before Associate Circuit Judge Ada Brehe-Krueger.

Gregory was scheduled for a plea hearing last month on  Sept. 8. But, after a hearing before Wood, the case was passed to last Friday (Oct. 20) for a plea.