Police have not disclosed a motive for the fatal shooting earlier this month of a young, pregnant mother and the father of her children in a hotel room in Northwest Raleigh. But the slain man’s older brother says he died while defending the mother of his children from a man who “she knew from her past, when she was much younger.”
Police found April Lynn Holland, 22, and Dwayne Garvey, 28, shot to death in a second-floor room at the America’s Best Value Inn at 3921 Arrow Drive, off Blue Ridge Road near Crabtree Valley Mall, before dawn on Dec. 2. The next day, police charged Seaga Edward Gillard, 28, and Brandon Xavier Hill, 29, with first-degree murder.
Hill has been accused of shooting Garvey. Police say Gillard shot Holland, who was four months pregnant.
Gillard and Holland were old acquaintances, according to Garvey’s older brother, Dwight Garvey, 30, and sister in-law, Ravien Garvey, of Raleigh. “Her past came back to haunt her,” Dwight Garvey said.
But the Garveys would not discuss the nature of Holland and Gillard’s past relationship.
“What we can say is Dwayne died defending the love of his life,” Ravien Garvey said.
Dwayne Garvey was the son of a Bahamian father and African-American mother. His brother, Dwight Garvey, said one of their family ancestors is the Jamaican-born Pan Africanist Marcus Garvey, who moved to Harlem in the early 1900s and founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association. He is also the nephew of Grand Bahamian activist Troy Garvey. Federal criminal records show that Seaga Edward Gillard is a native of St. Lucia, Virgin Islands. His first and middle names are the juxtaposed names of Jamaica’s former prime minister, Edward Seaga.
Investigators think Gillard, whose name also appears as “Gaillard” on federal documents, has terrorized women before. Last week, he appeared in court on charges of robbery with a dangerous weapon, first-degree kidnapping, first-degree forcible sexual offense and assault by strangulation, after police accused him of using a handgun to rape a woman Oct. 28 and then steal her cellphone, wallet and an identification card. The woman told police that Gillard wrapped a phone cord around her neck.
Federal records show that he was convicted in the Virgin Islands in 2007 of third-degree domestic violence assault.
Gillard was charged with attempted murder in 2011, following the shooting of two men at a Durham apartment complex, but prosecutors dropped the charges because of insufficient evidence, state records show.
Hill, by comparison, had a less substantial criminal record. He was convicted of careless and reckless driving in Durham in 2013. Charges last year of going armed to the terror of the public and assault with a deadly weapon were dismissed because of lack of evidence. Charges in March of assault on a female and larceny of a firearm were also dismissed, court records show.
Holland and Garvey first met in late 2011 when they were both living at the Pines of Ashton apartments near WakeMed hospital. Dwight Garvey said his brother and Holland became friends, but that friendship turned into love. The couple’s families did not readily accept the interracial romance between a white woman and a black man.
“He was defying everybody for her, and she was defying everyone for him,” Ravien Garvey said.
Dwayne Garvey had been born in Raleigh to parents who met while attending St. Augustine’s University. When the marriage ended, he split time with his mother in Raleigh and his father in the Bahamas. Dwight Garvey said he and his brother moved to Raleigh in 2009 after graduating from high school in Freeport.
Dwayne Garvey enrolled at Miller Motte College in Raleigh to study medical office assistant technology. “He wanted to come over here and work and make his own money, raise his kids and live comfortably,” Dwight Garvey said. But after one semester, Dwight Garvey said, “the bills started rolling in” and his brother dropped out and found a job at API, a manufacturing company in Zebulon.
Dwayne Garvey left API in late 2010 and went to work for a Papa John’s warehouse in Garner. His brother said he “was on the verge of making supervisor” at the warehouse when he wrecked his car and quit because he did not have reliable transportation.
Dwayne Garvey and April Holland were awaiting the birth of their fourth child. They are survived by toddlers – two boys, ages 2 and 1, and a 3-year-old daughter.
Dwight and Ravien Garvey said contrary to some media accounts, Garvey and Holland were not homeless. They lived with their children in Rocky Mount and for a short while with his mother there.
“Why they were at a hotel, we don’t know,” Ravien Garvey said. “Maybe they wanted to get away.”
Ravien Garvey said April and Dwayne were great parents who would do anything for their children. “They both had good hearts,” she said. “April was the life of the party. She was young, just 22, and had a lot of youth in her, always laughing and joking. She could crack you up over the smallest thing.”
Betty Holland, April Holland’s mother, said her daughter was the oldest of her two children. She grew up in Raleigh.
“She was a sweet little girl,” Holland said. “She adored me. She always wanted to brush my hair.”
Betty Holland said she wants justice for the men who have been accused of killing her daughter and the father of her grandchildren.
“I know God will look out for me, and He will see justice done,” she said. “Deep down, though, I would like to confront them and ask them, how would they like it if somebody killed someone that they loved? They left children behind. They don’t deserve to be on this Earth.”
Holland’s funeral was Tuesday in Raleigh, while Garvey will be buried Saturday in Rocky Mount. Their three children were staying with their paternal grandmother while their parents were at the hotel. They are still with her.