CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE — A murder trial of two men charged with killing former standout Millville High School football player Khalil Wallace is set to begin July 14.
Superior Court Judge Patricia Wild set the trial date for Norman Gray and Andre Gross on Wednesday afternoon during a brief hearing in the case.
Wild set aside a full five weeks for the trial, a case which includes crime scenes in Cape May and Cumberland counties as well as Philadelphia.
Gray and Gross are charged with killing 19-year-old Wallace on Sept. 20, 2011, and then dumping his body. It was recovered weeks later on Oct. 6 in a quarry in Downe Township, Cumberland County.
The minivan in which Wallace was shot was found in Philadelphia, where it had been set on fire.
A third man, Boris Curwen, was also charged and later pleaded guilty to first-degree aggravated manslaughter.
Curwen previously told the court that he and the other men picked up Wallace in the minivan on a Woodbine street that September day.
Minutes later Wallace was dead. An autopsy found he was shot three times.
“I turned around and closed my eyes and then start shooting,” Boris Curwen told the court when he pleaded guilty. Curwen said Gross gave him the gun and he also said it was Gray who first fired a shot at Wallace.
The guns, including one that Curwen said Wallace was carrying, were also dumped.
“As we're leaving Woodbine, Andre says he'll put all the guns in a bag. He took the gun I had, Norman had and the one Khalil had and put it in a bag and tossed it into a little pond,” Curwen said at the time of his plea..
First Assistant Prosecutor Rob Johnson said Wednesday that the shooting was motived by a dispute over drug money.
Johnson has said Gross believed Wallace had stolen about $140,000, the proceeds of an alleged drug distribution network, and that was why the men traveled from Millville to Woodbine in 2011.
Any connection between the men and involvement in the Bloods street gang, however, will not be heard by a jury.
Wild ruled Wednesday to grant a defense motion by attorneys Andrew Butchko and H. Parker Smith, representing Gross and Gray, respectively, to sever one count of the indictment that charged the men with first-degree gang criminality.
That charge will be handled separately, Wild said, because it would unduly prejudice the jury in the murder case.
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