CABARRUS COUNTY, NC (FOX 46 WJZY) - A jury has found Terrell Thomas guilty on all counts in connection to a 2015 shooting at a rest stop on Interstate 85 that left a man paralyzed.
Greg McKee, 43, of Gastonia, had stopped at the rest stop near Dale Earnhardt Boulevard and Exit 60 on Interstate 85 when he was shot in the back. McKee survived, but was left paralyzed from the waist down as a result of the shooting.
On Tuesday, a jury found Thomas guilty of conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon, assault with a deadly weapon, attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon, and attempted first degree murder.
McKee and his wife, Terrie, spoke with Fox 46 Charlotte after the trial about why they testified and why they chose to forgive the men accused of shooting and trying to rob Greg.
“I am setting me free of the emotional bondage and baggage that comes along with not setting someone free. I can set him free emotionally. That doesn't mean we don't protect the community. Some people ask, ‘Why would you testify then if you really forgave?’ Well, to protect the community,” Greg McKee said.
“It was extraordinarily difficult to get up there on the stand and to absolutely re-live every ounce of that night and of the subsequent days afterwards. It was excruciatingly painful but it was something that had to be done.” Terrie McKee said.
Thomas was sentenced Tuesday to 23 to 30 years in prison, according to the defense. His co-defendant Darren Manuel pleaded guilty back in October to pulling the trigger. Manuel got 18 to 22 years in prison.
Also Tuesday, not in front of the jury, Manuel’s girlfriend, Keyona Powell, pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting and intimidation of a witness. The prosecution says Powell spoke to her boyfriend on the phone, while he was in jail, and he told her to get in touch with Terrell Thomas. Before testimony began in Thomas’ trial, also not in front of the jury, the prosecution referenced two attempted hits on the victim.
Click through the links below to explore our previous reporting on this case:
- Wife of man shot, paralyzed at I-85 rest stop testifies in court
- Heightened security at court as trial for man who shot, paralyzed father of 4 begins
- Sheriff's Office: Second suspect arrested in I-85 rest area shooting
- Person of Interest in Custody for Rest Area Shooting
- Gastonia church remodels home for rest-stop shooting victim
- Father of 4 paralyzed in I-85 rest stop shooting