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‘He didn’t deserve to be killed’: Trial underway for the man accused of killing Aaron Cory Hancock

Published: Jul. 7, 2021 at 2:01 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The trial is underway for Gino Washington, the man accused of killing Aaron Cory Hancock.

Washington is charged with capital murder and armed robbery in connection with Hancock’s murder, which occurred on the night of July 8, 2018.

Dressed in a white shirt and white facemask, Washington was silent as allegations were levied against him.

Prosecutors accused Washington of shooting Hancock and stealing his car, while attorneys for the defendant say their client is innocent.

“You’re not going to hear us say he (Aaron) was a perfect person,” Assistant District Attorney Gwen Agho said. “He was not perfect. He was human. He didn’t deserve to be killed because he trusted Gino Washington.”

Agho said that on the night of July 8, Hancock and his girlfriend, Kayla Gilmore, had picked up Washington so he could help them purchase some marijuana.

Hancock, a waiter, was off work and wanted to relax, Agho said. “You’ll never hear us say that was a good idea,” Agho told the jury. “It obviously wasn’t, because we are here today.”

After the transaction, Washington allegedly directed Hancock to drive him to an abandoned home in the 1300 block of Bailey Avenue, where he forced the couple out of the vehicle at gunpoint, shot Hancock, and took off in his car.

Washington’s attorney, though, said his client was innocent and urged the jury to consider all of the evidence that was being presented.

“Gino Washington did not kill Aaron Hancock. Gino Washington did not commit a robbery of Kayla Gilmore. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, you’re only here today because Gino Washington’s name... came up by some unnamed source as a person who committed these acts.

“This is a case of hearsay with no motive.”

He said Hancock’s death was a tragedy, but it would be up to the jury to determine if there was enough evidence to prove Washington killed him.

“We ask you to listen to all the evidence... before you make a decision,” he said. “And to let you know, as the defense, we don’t have to prove anything. We don’t have to put up any defense to prove he was innocent. Every person is presumed innocent until the state meets the very high verdict of them being guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.”

So far, three witnesses have been called: Officer Joseph McCarroll, who responded to the scene; Stephanie Horn, a former crime scene investigator with the Jackson Police Department, who collected evidence and took photographs at the scene; and Dr. Mark LeVaughn, former chief medical examiner for the state, who conducted Hancock’s autopsy.

A defense attorney questions a crime scene investigator during the Gino Washington trial.
A defense attorney questions a crime scene investigator during the Gino Washington trial.(WLBT)

Highlights of the questioning so far:

  • Officer Joseph McCarroll questioned about what he saw on the scene
    • Found Hancock face down at the Bailey Ave. property
    • Had developed a possible suspect by the time he left the scene
    • Was asked by the prosecution to name the suspect, but was not allowed to answer
    • Said he had not heard of Gino Washington prior to the case
    • Told defense attorneys he heard the name ‘Lil G’ during his investigation
  • Stephanie Horn, a former JPD crime scene investigator
    • Responded to the case the night of the incident
    • Recovered a single, .40 caliber bullet from the scene
    • Recovered other evidence, including Hancock’s skullcap
    • Processed vehicle stolen from the scene; one fingerprint recovered from an exterior door handle
  • Dr. Mark Levaughn, former chief medical examiner for the state
    • The bullet that killed Hancock entered the back of his chest on the right side, went through his right lung and his aorta, struck his liver, pierced his left lung, went through his spleen, and exited on the left side of his chest, and re-entered his left arm.
    • Hancock’s death was ruled a homicide
    • Cannot say Washington killed him

The case was adjourned until 9 o’clock Thursday morning.

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