HOUSTON - A man charged with murder in a deadly 2014 Upper Kirby trial was declared not guilty Wednesday.
Announcement of the verdict brought shouts of joy and tears from the friends and family members of the defendant, Huntley Grichor, 29. On the other side of the courtroom, relatives and friends of the man he killed, Shannon Gallagher, 25, sat in stunned silence.
Grichor was charged with murder. The jury delivered its verdict just after 4 p.m. after about nine hours of deliberation following three weeks of testimony.
Afterwards, Grichor said he was relieved and looking forward to getting on with his life.
"I mean, I told the truth and nothing but the truth and I believed in (my attorney) and I'm just so grateful for the jurors and the Lord above and my family and friends who are supporting me these four tough years," Grichor said. "I''ve learned so much and I've grown so much as a person through all this. I'm definitely a better person. I saw the good and the bad and this is the best day of my life."
Grichor admitted stabbing Gallagher, but took the stand during the trial to say he acted in self-defense.
KPRC reached out to Gallagher's family through their attorney, but they declined to speak.
Witnesses testified the two men got into a fight involving their girlfriends at Gaslight, a Midtown bar, around 11 p.m. on the night of Sept. 28, 2014. Both left the bar after a security guard broke up the altercation.
But about an hour later, they ran into each other again when Gallahger and a group of friends arrived at an apartment building in the 2800 block of Kirby, unaware that’s where Grichor lived. There was another confrontation and Grichor armed himself with a knife from his kitchen.
Defense attorney Chris Flood said Grichor saw Gallagher pull something from his pants pocket, and assuming he was armed, stabbed him in the chest. No weapon was found on Gallagher.
"At the very least, the defendant thought he was armed and there's good reason to think that he was armed. And, in apparent danger, a person has the right to defend themselves against apparent danger just as much as actual danger," Flood said.
The first patrol officer who testified in the trial said he found Shannon Gallagher on the floor of the fourth floor of one of the buildings of the complex. Gallagher had a stab wound to the chest and wasn't responding to CPR, according to the officer.
The officer said when firefighters declared the victim dead, friends of Gallagher became aggressive with the officer. Other responding officers worked to separate and detain some of the 20 people who were gathered on the floor, according to witnesses.
The responding officers described the fourth floor as chaotic. They say people were yelling, screaming and pushing. Similar complaints from 911 calls made from apartment residents painted a similar picture.
The second and third patrol officer both testified that someone in the crowd pointed to and told them the suspect was inside one of the apartments. The officers said they stood outside the fourth-floor apartment to barricade the defendant, Huntley Grichor, inside. That’s when they said Grichor’s girlfriend ran past them and inside the apartment.
They said while one of the officers restrained her, two others spotted Grichor about six feet from the door. Both the officers testified saying Grichor said, “It was self-defense. It was self-defense.”
The patrol officers said Grichor told them the knife was inside the kitchen sink right before he was arrested. The officers testified they saw a wet, soapy kitchen knife in the sink.
During the trial, several emotional 911 calls were also played for jurors to hear, including ones from the girlfriends of Grichor and Gallagher. Both women were calling for help for different reasons.
Grichor’s girlfriend had called to report a group of men banging on their apartment door, one with a knife. She sounded frantic and scared on the audio that was played for jurors. Gallagher's girlfriend called to report her boyfriend had been stabbed and was losing blood.
During the trial, the prosecution put on witnesses who testified that Gallagher had raised his hands in a non-aggressive stance and asked Grichor if he intended to stab him when the saw the knife when he was stabbed. Other witnesses testified the forensic evidence didn't match Grichor's version of the incident. But that evidence wasn't enough to sway the jury.
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