“Babe, I’ve been shot,” were some of the last words Amber Bland heard from her fiance, Dontee Gervins, on Nov. 9 2012, she testified Tuesday morning in Delaware County Common Pleas Court during the trial of two Columbus men charged with his murder.
The trial for Reginald Timothy Conley, 28, of Lucasville and Jermaine Darnell Kelly, 32, of Columbus, entered its second day of testimony and is expected to continue for several days. During opening arguments, First Assistant Prosecutor Kyle Rohrer alleged that on Nov. 9 2012 Conley and Kelly drove Gervins to Red Bank Road in Harlem Township, shot him and left him for dead.
Rohrer said that Gervins and Conley, who also goes by the street name “Twice,” took part in an armed robbery that ended in double homicide at a residence on Gulch Street in October 2012 and said that Conley killed Gervins to prevent him from identifying Conley to the police.
Bland tearfully testified that on the afternoon of Nov. 9, Gervins got a phone call and left with a friend, but said he would be back. Bland said she went to sleep and was awoken later that evening by a phone call from Gervins that began with “Babe, I’ve been shot.”
Bland testified that Gervins sounded out of breath and scared during the call. Bland testified that she asked Gervins who shot him and said he told her “Ice” and ordered her, “don’t tell nobody.”
Prosecutors called a resident on Red Bank Road Monday who testified that there was a knock on her door on Nov. 9 and the person knocking claimed they had been shot. The resident testified that she contacted 9-1-1 and medics and law enforcement arrived minutes later to transport Gervins to Riverside Methodist Hospital.
Gervins died in the hospital nine days later.
On Tuesday the jury heard testimony from Kenneth Gerston, the former deputy coroner for the Franklin County Coroner’s Office who performed the autopsy on Gervins.
Gerston testified that Gervins was shot once in the back and the bullet passed through his abdomen, fractured a rib and punctured a lung before becoming lodged in Gervins’ chest wall.
“Wounds of this kind are usual fatal,” Gerston testified. Gerston testified that Gervins would have been capable of walking a short distance because adrenaline would have slowed the amount of blood he was losing, but said Gervins would have eventually lost too much blood to make it a great distance.
Gerston testified that Gervins died of Bronchopneumonia, an infection that occurs when lungs are filled with fluid due to Gervins’ lung being punctured by the bullet fired from a .38-caliber pistol.
Bland also testified she saw Conley at a New Year’s Eve event and saw he was in possession of a pistol. Bland added that she spoke to Conley on New Year’s Eve and testified that Conley said he was with Gervins in Delaware County on Nov. 9 and said he was with him when he was shot.
Rohrer said during opening arguments that investigators analyzed cell phones belonging to Conley, Kelly and Gervins and said the towers place them in Delaware County together that afternoon; but only Kelly and Conley’s phones returned to Columbus.
The trial is set to resume Wednesday morning.
Conley and Kelly were indicted by a Delaware County grand jury on July 22, 2016, and were in the Delaware County Jail Tuesday.
Conley is charged with two counts of murder; one charge of intimidation of witness in a criminal case, a third-degree felony; and one charge of having weapons while under disability, also a third-degree felony.
Kelly is charged with two counts of murder; one charge of intimidation of witness in a criminal case, a third-degree felony; and two counts of having weapons while under disability, also third-degree felonies.
Both murder charges carry firearm specifications and gang specifications, both of which could add years to any potential prison term. Delaware County Common Pleas Judge Everett Krueger told the defendants that the murder charges carry between 15 years and life in prison.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.