September 23, 2013

Preliminary hearing underway for man accused in 2010 killing of Shawnee liquor store owner

Larry Marshall Jr. testified Monday that he dropped off his cousin Bruce Ashley Jr. near Mr. G’s Liquor Store the night that owner Gerry Grovenburg was killed and that Ashley later confided to him that “I think I shot somebody.” Ashley is charged with first-degree murder and attempted aggravated robbery.

A man accused in the 2010 killing of a longtime Shawnee liquor store owner was dropped off near the store on the night of the killing, his cousin testified Monday.

Later, the suspect confided to his cousin that “I think I shot somebody,” according to testimony in a preliminary hearing that began Monday in Johnson County District Court.

Larry Marshall Jr., who also is charged in the killing of Gerry Grovenburg, has agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in the case against his cousin, Bruce Ashley Jr., who is charged with first-degree murder and attempted aggravated robbery.

Marshall waived his preliminary hearing on the murder and attempted robbery charges and said Monday he had agreed to plead guilty to a lesser charge of conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery in exchange for his cooperation in the case against Ashley.

Grovenburg, 61, who had owned Mr. G’s Liquor Store at 76th Street and Quivira Road for 35 years, was shot to death May 12, 2010.

A customer found Grovenburg laying face down in a pool of blood just after 10 p.m. He died from a single gunshot wound to the chest. Police recovered a spent .40-caliber shell casing at the scene.

Marshall, 33, testified Monday that he and Ashley, 30, had planned to rob the store a month before the killing. Marshall said they had gone to the store but called off the robbery because he thought somebody was watching them.

“I got scared,” he testified.

Describing the night that Grovenburg was killed, Marshall said Ashley showed up at his apartment in Shawnee and told him he wanted to “go hit a lick,” or commit a crime like a robbery.

Marshall said Ashley just wanted him to drive, and he said he didn’t know specifically what his cousin had in mind.

Marshall said that after he dropped off Ashley on 75th Street near the store, he circled the area until Ashley called him to pick him up at a nearby apartment complex.

“He jumped in and told me to go,” Marshall testified. “I don’t know what went on in the store.”

Ashley did not clarify what he meant when he said he thought he shot someone, according to Marshall. “He didn’t want to say nothing or talk about it,” Marshall testified.

Testimony in the preliminary hearing is scheduled to continue Tuesday.

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