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Opening statements heard in case of Opelika shooting that led to two deaths in 2017

Opening statements heard in case of Opelika shooting that led to two deaths in 2017

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The trial for a man charged with murder began Tuesday after a fatal shooting claimed the lives of two men in Opelika in 2017.

John Willie Maddox, 31, of Opelika, is facing two murder charges in connection to the deaths of Sedric Darrell Lewis, 27, of Opelika, and Derris Terrel Harris, 31, of LaFayette, following their deaths after the shooting on March 25, 2017. Maddox is also charged with shooting into an occupied dwelling.

Prosecutors said Maddox drove his red Dodge Challenger along with Jacquavious J. Greathouse of Auburn armed with an AR-15 and a .40 caliber pistol to a residence at Toomer Court in Opelika before getting into a shooting incident with the victims.

“[The victims] were sprayed with gunfire,” Assistant District Attorney Hayden Hillyer said. “The evidence shows 22 shell casings from a .223, six shell casings from a .40. These rounds didn’t just hit Mr. Lewis or Mr. Harris. They went inside the house. … We’re fortunate there weren’t more lives [lost] as a result of this.”

After the shooting was over, prosecutors said, Lewis died at the scene from gunshot wounds to the head and knee, Harris was taken to the hospital where he succumbed to his wounds, and Maddox and Greathouse fled the scene in Maddox’s Dodge Challenger.

“When [Maddox] left, there’s nothing showing that he called the police, but instead he hid his car,” Hillyer said. “We think the evidence will show that Mr. Maddox and Jaquay Greathouse were both shooting, both intending to kill and both got in the Challenger driven by Mr. Maddox to flee. ... We’re going to ask you to find Mr. Maddox guilty of the murder of Sedric Lewis, the murder of Derris Harris and the shooting into an occupied dwelling.”

Defense Attorney Elijah Beaver reminded the jury of the presumption of innocence a defendant has until they are proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt by the state, and that witness testimony would prove Maddox to be not guilty of the charges against him.

"Mr. Maddox walks in here innocent," Beaver said. "We expect the evidence to support that, and at the end of this case, that you'll find him not guilty."

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Greathouse turned himself in to the Lee County Jail and was taken into custody in April 2017, while Maddox was arrested and charged by Opelika police two days later.

Greathouse was found guilty of two counts of murder in connection to the March 2017 Opelika double homicide in November 2019 following about an hour of jury deliberation. Greathouse was sentenced to 90 years in prison in July 2020.


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