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‘I’m 100 percent sure’: Witness identifies Washington as Hancock’s killer

Gino Washington murder trial continued Thursday in Circuit Court.
A defense attorney questions a crime scene investigator during the Gino Washington trial on...
A defense attorney questions a crime scene investigator during the Gino Washington trial on Wednesday.(WLBT)
Published: Jul. 8, 2021 at 9:40 AM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Kayla Gilmore didn’t hesitate when she was asked to identify the man that she says killed her boyfriend.

“I’m 100 percent sure,” she said, moments after pointing to Gino Washington sitting across the courtroom.

The Washington murder trial continued Thursday, and Gilmore, who was with Aaron Cory Hancock the night he was killed, testified.

Aaron Cory Hancock was gunned down in July 2018. His accused killer has yet to stand trial.
Aaron Cory Hancock was gunned down in July 2018. His accused killer has yet to stand trial.(Kayla Gilmore)

She said the three had just pulled up to an abandoned home on Bailey Avenue when Washington forced the two out of the car at gunpoint.

Washington allegedly shot Hancock before taking the victim’s keys and cell phone and driving away in Hancock’s vehicle.

“I ran up to Aaron and he was face-forward on the ground. I rolled him over and he couldn’t focus his eyes anywhere. He couldn’t talk or anything. His lips were really pale. There was blood in his mouth,” she said.

“I grabbed the (cap) he was wearing, and I searched for the bullet hole and found it right here,” she said, pointing to her left side.

She told the court she used his hat to try and stop the bleeding.

“At that point, there were a lot of other people there. (They) heard gunshots and came to the scene. One girl performed CPR on him, and I was trying to talk to him,” she said. “I saw him take his last breath. I put my head on his chest and I couldn’t hear his heartbeat.

“After that, I knew he was gone.”

Hancock was killed on the night of July 8, 2018.

Earlier that night, she and Hancock had picked up Washington on their way to buy marijuana.

Gilmore did not want to go, saying she and Hancock needed to save money for rent.

However, Washington said he could get them a bag for $10.

The two picked him up on Bailey Avenue and then drove to another home, where Washington went in to make the purchase.

The address of the second home was not given. Gilmore said Washington was inside that dwelling about 15 minutes before returning with the weed.

Gilmore said she was uncomfortable with the situation but felt better because the three had a light-hearted conversation on the way to the transaction site.

Around 10 p.m., though, she told the court that her worst fears were realized, when the two were forced out of their car at an empty home on Bailey.

After Aaron was shot, Gilmore said she chased after Washington as he tried to drive away, and attempted to stab him with a scissor blade she had kept on her for protection.

She told the court that her arm had gotten stuck in the vehicle as she reached for Washington, but she was able to dislodge it after Washington crashed Aaron’s Toyota Scion into the abandoned home.

The home Washington told them to pull up to was an abandoned property in the 1300 block of Bailey.

Defense attorneys questioned why Gilmore didn’t tell police several details she mentioned in her testimony, including claims that she got her arm stuck in Hancock’s Scion and that she had used Hancock’s hat to stop his bleeding.

Assistant District Attorney Gwen Agho asked if Gilmore had been asked for those details, and she testified she had not been.

More details from today’s proceedings are shown below.

  • State calls Cpl. Corey Jenkins, who was JPD’s lead homicide detective for the case
    • Missed part of his testimony because the courtroom feed was down
    • Says Gilmore circled a picture of Gino Washington in a photo lineup; the lineup was designed to ensure that Washington would not stand out
    • Says he checked the serial number on a cell phone stolen from the crime scene and LeadsOnline showed that Washington had pawned it
    • LeadsOnline is a national database that pawnshops and other groups use to register devices purchased. Police use it to find TVs, cell phones, computers, and other items stolen
  • Washington interrogation video shown
    • Washington denies charges; denies nickname is “Lil G”
    • Says, “I don’t know nothing about no murder... I don’t know nothing about that.”
    • Officer tells Washington they found his fingerprints in the vehicle; found video surveillance of him at Bailey Avenue gas station (This turns out to be a questioning tactic that was not true.)
    • Tells Washington, “I know you did it. The evidence is there to prove it.”
    • Identity of the officer in video unknown
    • Officer later tells the defense there is no video surveillance and that it was a tactic to elicit a confession
    • Washington says he is homeless
  • Jenkins grilled by defense attorney
    • Jenkins says he was told by a fellow detective that Washington was “Lil G,” but did not know or would not say how the detective knew that information
    • A .40 caliber shell casing was found on the scene but Washington was found with a .9mm handgun
    • Jenkins police report initially lists suspect as 5′9″; Gilmore says the suspect was about the height of her boyfriend, who was 5′11″
    • Defense attorney asks why Jenkins told the attorney general that victims were not involved in any illegal activities when the incident occurred. According to the defense attorney, Jenkins’ report shows Gilmore admitted to purchasing drugs prior to the shooting.
    • Jenkins says no drugs were found at the crime scene and Gilmore and Hancock were not in possession
  • Kele Bigknife, regulatory affairs and corporate counsel for ecoATM LLC, discusses how Washington sold the stolen phone
    • The company operates kiosks at Walmart and other stores where people can bring old cell phones and other electronic waste for sale; the kiosk checks the equipment and offers sellers an instant offer
    • ecoATM operates a kiosk at the Jackson Walmart
    • The report shows Gino Washington sold a Motorola phone at that kiosk on July 9, 2018, the day after Hancock’s killing; the report includes a copy of Washington’s state-issued identification card, which shows he lived on Denver St., in Jackson. (A cell phone belonging to the victims was reported stolen from the scene.)
    • The kiosk takes webcam photos of the customer and compares them to the state-issued I.D. If the two do not match, the sale is not allowed. Customers selling devices must also plug phones into the kiosks, which determine whether the devices have adverse histories. Had the phone been reported as stolen, the sale would have been denied.
    • All transaction reports are submitted to LeadsOnline
  • An official at State Crime Lab says DNA sample not sufficient
    • Did not have enough DNA from the crime scene to determine if samples were from Washington.
    • Tests were conducted in 2020, approximately two years after the incident.

The case continues Friday at 9 a.m. in Judge Adrienne Wooten’s courtroom.

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