Crime

Raleigh police: Murder suspect Googled penalties for murder before his arrest

Seaga Edward Gillard, who was charged with murder in connection with a double homicide at an America’s Best Value Inn in Raleigh, will go on trial for capital murder when jury selection begins Monday.
Seaga Edward Gillard, who was charged with murder in connection with a double homicide at an America’s Best Value Inn in Raleigh, will go on trial for capital murder when jury selection begins Monday. tlong@newsobserver.com

Police say a 28-year-old man charged in the shooting deaths of a young couple last month at a Raleigh hotel used his smart phone after the shootings to search the Internet to see what kind of punishment he might face if he was arrested.

Investigators say Seaga Gillard of Wake Forest did a Google search on his phone to look up the penalties for “double homicide” and “fetal homicide,” according to a search warrant made public late last week.

April Lynn Holland, the 22-year-old woman who was shot at the America’s Best Value Inn near Crabtree Valley Mall, was four months pregnant. She and Dwayne Garvey, 28, were killed on the second floor before dawn on Dec. 2.

When investigators reviewed the search history of Gillard’s smart phone for Dec. 2, they looked at his Google email account, “empiresmokehill@gmail.com” and found the following entries in the search engine:

▪ “how much can you face for double homicide”

▪ “how much can you face for double homicide nc”

▪ “fetal homicide state laws”

▪ “2 man wanted in raleigh nc”

Police found Garvey lying face down with multiple gunshot wounds in the hotel’s second-floor hallway. Down the hall in room 220 police found Holland dead from a gunshot wound, according to the search warrant application.

The next day, police charged Gillard and Brandon Xavier Hill, 29, with first-degree murder. Police say Hill shot Garvey, and Gillard shot Holland. The couple are survived by three children – two boys, ages 2 and 1, and a 3-year-old daughter.

Investigators say the fatal shootings were captured on the hotel’s surveillance video. They also determined that Gillard had communicated with one of the victims just before the shootings. Soon after police arrested Gillard at his Wake Forest home, they used a search warrant to seize evidence from his mobile phone, court records show.

Gillard and Hill both remain in the Wake County jail without benefit of bail, a jail spokesman reported Friday. They could face the death penalty or life in prison without parole if they are convicted of first-degree murder.

Thomasi McDonald: 919-829-4533, @thomcdonald

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