WINCHESTER — Adam Marcus Griffin, accused of fatally shooting Lorenzo Coles Wheeler on June 30 and seeking to have a witness killed a day later, will have one trial on both charges.
In March, Winchester Circuit Court Judge Brian Madden ruled in favor of a defense motion for two trials, one for first-degree murder and one for solicitation of murder. The latter trial was scheduled for this week. Griffin, 35, of the 900 block of North Braddock Street, is now scheduled to stand trial beginning Oct. 20.
The consolidation was approved May 25. In March, defense attorney Howard J. Manheimer said Griffin would have to testify in the solicitation trial to refute testimony of the jailhouse informant the prosecution is relying on. But he said Griffin could exercise his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination by not testifying at the murder trial and still be acquitted. Manheimer argued that combining the trials forced Griffin to testify.
On Monday, Manheimer said a “strategy change” led him to request one trial, but he wouldn’t elaborate. He said he didn’t want to compromise the case. Heather D. Hovermale, Winchester deputy commonwealth’s attorney, told Madden in March that there should be one trial because the cases were “inextricably intertwined.”
Wheeler, a 30-year-old city resident, was shot on the street outside 312 N. Kent St. Authorities haven’t given a motive.
Both men lived in the same home in Winchester in 2019 and both had extensive criminal records. Griffin’s record includes two robbery convictions in Fairfax County in 2005-06.