When former security guard Gregory Livingston goes to trial for having killed Alvin Motley Jr. this past summer, he now will have to answer for murder.
This past Thursday (December 16), a Shelby County grand jury indicted Livingston on a charge of first-degree murder for shooting Motley to death at a Kroger fuel center in East Memphis.
The grand jury’s first-degree murder indictment came nearly three months after Shelby County General Sessions Judge Louis J. Montesi Jr. found probable cause. Montesi’s ruling then was sent to the grand jury with the second-degree murder charge filed by prosecutors from the Davidson County District Attorney General’s office.
The Nashville-area prosecutors were assigned the case after Shelby County District Atty. Gen. Amy Weirich recused her office. In doing so, Weirich revealed that an investigator in her office had an off-duty job with the security firm that employed Livingston when Motley was fatally shot.
Motley, 48, was visiting from Chicago on Aug. 7 when he was killed at the Kroger Store fuel center at 6660 Poplar Ave., near the Memphis-Germantown city limits. Livingston, who was 54 at the time, is being held in the Shelby County Jail on a $1.8 million bond.
Memphis Branch NAACP President Van Turner Jr., who also is an attorney, is working with renowned national civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump to get justice for Motley and his family. Crump represents the Motley family.
“As president of the Memphis branch NAACP, we believe the upgraded charge from second degree to first-degree murder is in order,” Turner told The New Tri-State Defender on Saturday.
“As a former officer of the law, the security guard who shot Alvin Motley (Jr.) should have been able to de-escalate the situation because of his background and training. Instead, he premeditated the murder of Mr. Motley,” said Turner. “Therefore, at the conclusion of this trial, we hope to see justice served.”
The altercation between Motley, who was not armed, and Livingston involved the loud playing of music from a car in which Motley was a passenger. He had a cigarette and a can of beer in his hand when was fatally shot.
Multiple videos captured the deadly encounter.
During a hearing before Montesi regarding the videos, Sgt. LaTanya West, a Memphis police officer in the homicide unit, testified that Livingston claimed to have been a police officer in the past.
“As a trained police officer, Mr. Livingston should have known to make his gun the last resort,” said West. “We found a gun, three clips of ammunition, two knives and an asp. An asp is a baton that expands in length. A trained police officer would know that the gun is always your last option.”
Defense attorneys Steve Farese and Leslie Ballin did not present witnesses during the hearing but are anchoring their defense of Livingston on self-defense.
No trial date has been set.