Chad Gatewood, 47, is accused of murdering is 20-year-old nephew, Elijah P. Gatewood-Gabriel.
Gatewood’s attorney argued that the grand jury was not informed that Gatewood-Gabriel had a knife and was high on cocaine, raising the possibility that Chad Gatewood was defending himself at the time of the murder on May 18, 2012.
Assistant Gloucester County Prosecutor Joseph More countered by saying there was “definitely no indication” Gatewood was in any danger during their argument.
Gatewood and Gatewood-Gabriel lived with Gatewood’s sister, who was Gatewood-Garbiel’s mother. As Gatewood and his sister guided Gatewood-Gabriel toward the outside door after an initial argument between the two men, Gatewood allegedly pushed his sister aside and stabbed the victim multiple times.
Gatewood-Gabriel died of multiple stab wounds to his back.
The judge ruled the defense was wrong in arguing that the indictment was defective because it was the result of only a detective’s testimony.
Only in the case of “misconduct or abdication by the grand jurors” is dismissal of an indictment justified, and that was not claimed in the Gatewood’s dismissal motion.
The judge said that only when evidence of self-defense is “clearly exculpatory” should it be presented to a grand jury.
In this case, Gatewood’s claims that he acted to protect himself “is self-serving” and also is “factually disputable and therefore not clearly exculpatory.”
“Disputed issues of fact are properly left for a jury to determine at trial,” Judge Allen-Jackson said.
Gatewood’s attorney Jeffrey Wintner argued that the prosecution also failed to allow the grand jury to consider the lesser charge of manslaughter along with murder.
Jackson decreed that the state has “wide discretion” on how to charge a defendant.