Police & Courts

Detective recounts Wires death investigation at Gavin retrial

Detective Adam Gibson gives a testimony during the third day of the Steven Gavin Trail at the Adams County Courthouse on Friday, Jan. 17, 2020. | H-W Photo/Matt Hopf
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By Herald-Whig
Posted: Jan. 18, 2020 12:01 am

QUINCY -- The lead detective in the Carlous Wires shooting death investigation testified Friday that police had to investigate rumors from the street in the case.

Quincy police Detective Adam Gibson testified Friday that if rumors or "word on the street" reached him, he would follow them to the source of the information to see if they could be confirmed.

But Gibson also testified that Wires' daughter, Shelby Wires, received a call asking if someone called looking for "Steve" provided a path forward in the investigation.

Gibson was on the stand for about two hours Friday during the third day of testimony in the retrial of Steven E. Gavin.

Gavin, 57, faces four counts of first-degree murder and one count of armed robbery in Wires' death on Nov. 23, 2015, at his home at 706 N. Fourth.

A February 2019 trial ended in a mistrial after the jury remained deadlocked after 13 hours of deliberations.

By checking records of the number that called Shelby Wires' phone, Gibson testified, there were many calls from Alanna Dawson, Gavin's girlfriend.

Shelby Wires later identified a voice that was Gavin's in a February 2019 lineup, which Gavin's attorney, Curtis Lovelace noted was not video nor audio recorded.

Gibson said rumors of involvement of Carlous Wires' wife, Vivian Wires, and Michael Gay, who testified that he walked by the home that night, were explored and unfounded.

Gibson said both Terron Cartmill and Helen Horton, who both testified Thursday, initially told police they didn't know anything about the case. Both testified that Gavin told them he killed Carlous Wires. Gibson said that some people won't talk to police for fear of retribution.

Scott Rochowicz, a forensic scientist with the Illinois State Police Forensic Science Center in Chicago, testified earlier that gunshot residue can be transferred from an object that is near a discharged firearm.

He said people get gunshot residue on themselves by firing a gun, by being in the vicinity of a gun that was fired or from an item that had gunshot particles on it.

While questioning Gibson, Lovelace asked about the positive gunshot residue test in the case. Gibson replied that Vivian told him she did not fire a gun.

"And you chose to believe her?" Lovelace asked.

"I did," Gibson said.

Vivian Wires said that after calling 911, she took a bag of marijuana in the living room and threw it in a neighbor's yard, but that wasn't mentioned until a May 2017 police report.

Gibson said he didn't come across a bag of marijuana in a neighboring yard the night of the shooting, nor did he when the yards were searched again months later.

Gibson also testified that police received permission in January 2016 to swab the car Gavin reportedly drove the night of the shooting. The car is owned by Gavin's mother, Annette Gavin.

He said the swabs from the front door handles and its inside came back negative for blood or DNA.

Gibson also testified that when Gavin was asked if he would comply with a court-ordered buccal swab that Gavin replied, "Read my lips, no."

Forensic pathologist Dr. Scott Denton, who performed the autopsy, testified that Carlous Wires was shot twice in the head. He said the bullets were on the upper right and left sides of his head, and the paths of the bullets crisscrossed before exiting on both sides of his chin.

Denton testified that the gun was between 18 and 24 inches away from Wires when he was shot, and because of the path of the bullets, they would have been fired from above Wires, meaning he could have been bent over, sitting in a chair or kneeling.

However, Denton couldn't say for certain what position Carlous Wires was in when he was shot.

During cross-examination, Denton said he didn't review any photos from the crime scene. He added that photos are occasionally included if there's a question about what position the person was in at the time of death.

Also testifying was FBI Special Agent Greg Catey of the Cellular Analysis Team, who said the person with the phone number he was asked to review had made calls the evening of the killing, accessing portions of AT&T cell towers that served the Wires' neighborhood and the trailer park where Gavin reportedly went after the shooting.

Catey also testified that there is no way to put an exact location of where the phone was while it was accessing a signal from a specific portion of the tower.

Judge Robert Adrian dismissed the jury early Friday afternoon as ice began accumulating.

The prosecution is set to rest its case Tuesday morning after an estimated 10 minutes of questions for Gibson. The defense is set to present evidence Tuesday.

Gavin is being held in the Adams County Jail on $5 million bond, as well as $500,000 bond on two unrelated charges.

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