NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Presentation of evidence is over in the murder trial for a man charged in a deadly home invasion in Ogden. Closing arguments are expected to begin Tuesday morning.
Michael Malloy, 26, is charged with first-degree murder, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury, attempted armed robbery, robbery with a dangerous weapon conspiracy, first-degree burglary, and two counts of felony cruelty to animals in the 2015 incident in which Yancey Edwards, 32, was killed.
The State's final witness, co-defendant Brent Thomas James Hyatt, took the stand Monday morning. In September 2016, Hyatt pleaded guilty to several charges, including second-degree murder, and was sentenced to at least 20 years in prison. Investigators said Hyatt drove Malloy and another man, Theio Robert Manley, to the home.
By taking the deal from the District Attorney's office, Hyatt agreed to testify for the State in this trial.
According to the New Hanover County Sheriff's Office, Malloy and Manley, one armed with a .22 caliber rifle, broke into the home on Point View Court at around 3 a.m. on May 4, 2015.
"The whole thing was a stupid, split-second decision," Hyatt told the jury.
Recalling the night of the crime, Hyatt said he and Manley devised the plan to rob Edwards before they picked up Malloy from his grandmother's home. They told him where they were going and why, and while they said Malloy was hesitant, he knew about the plan and was not threatened to take part. He did so by choice.
Hyatt said when the two men got back in the car after the shooting, Manley said he wasn't the one who did it.
The suspects shot and killed two dogs and demanded money and drugs. Investigators said Edwards and another man, Joshua Roydes, struggled with the intruders over the gun, but were both shot. Responding deputies found Roydes on the front lawn with a gunshot wound in his arm. Edwards was found dead inside the home with several gunshot wounds.
Hyatt was interviewed by law enforcement a couple of days later, but he told the court Monday he lied to them. After the interview, he went to the New Hanover County Courthouse to find an attorney. Before he went in, he threw a soda bottle away. He said while inside, he watched investigators pull the bottle out of the trash.
"I saw them watching me. I knew they were on me," Hyatt said.
After that, he decided to tell investigators the truth. In a second interview with police, he admitted to the crime.
On the first day of the trial, prosecutors said Malloy was the one responsible for pulling the trigger.
Assistant District Attorney William Van Trigt told the jury the men traveled to Edwards home to steal drugs and money. He said Brent Hyatt drove the car around the block while Malloy and Theio Manley stood outside the home, watching Edwards, his girlfriend, and Roydes play cards through a dining room window.
When they went to bed, Van Trigt said Malloy and Manley broke in through the window and walked in to Edwards bedroom. His girlfriend, Hannah Gastwirth, testified she woke up to see two figures standing in the doorway, both with bandanas covering their faces and one with a .22 caliber rifle.
Gastwirth said a fight ensued between the three men--she said Edwards grabbed a crowbar and hit Malloy on the head, causing him to bleed. The altercation moved into the living room and Roydes jumped in. Gastwirth said when she realized Roydes didn't have a weapon, she found a golf club and handed it to him, not knowing he'd already been shot in the arm.
Moments later, she said she found Edwards laying in the floor on his back, barely moving. She called 911 and began CPR, but was unsuccessful. Both of Edwards dogs were also shot in the incident, she said she's just not sure when.
Prosecutors said both men went back out the window and ran to the car driven by Hyatt.
"The defendant threw his clothes away, but couldn't get rid of the blood and fingerprints left at the scene," Van Trigt said.
Malloy's defense attorney, Steve Wright, painted a much different picture. He told the jury Malloy didn't know either Hyatt or Manley well, and got in the car under the impression they were going to buy marijuana from Edwards. Gastwirth testified Brent Hyatt would come to their house often to purchase the drug and "hang out," but hadn't shown up for over a year until about two months before the homicide.
"He was acting different," Gastwirth said. "He didn't say much and didn't look anyone in the eye."
Wright said once Malloy learned about the robbery plan, he told the two he didn't want to participate, but got out of the car when Manley pointed a gun at him. The attorney said he only entered the home because he was still being held at gunpoint.
Wright said Manley was responsible for the shootings, not Malloy.
Manley also pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, in addition to other charges, in January. He was sentenced to at least 30 years in prison.
Roydes was hit and killed in the 5400 block of Oleander Drive on Dec. 30, 2016. Hernan Flores-Contreras is charged with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle, felony hit-and-run, and failure to maintain lane control in the incident.