Friday, September 25, 2009

Greg Wright - Finally Justice

Now Lauderdale County investigators were faced with three conflicting statements in the murder of Greg Wright. Father William Nard accused his son Greg of the crime, while the son accused his father. Accomplice Ernest Widdowson (pictured) maintained total innocence in the act itself, while both men averred their friend assisted in the murder and robbery. Lauderdale County prosecutors prepared their cases against the men, initially considering charging all three with capital murder. Denying bail to the trio, the county housed Widdowson in the Lauderdale County Detention Center, while placing William Nard in the Franklin County jail and Greg Nard in nearby Walker County.

With court dockets in Lauderdale County backed up, the wheels of justice turned slowly in the Wright case. In the ensuing months, forensics proved all three men were indeed inside Greg Wright's rural manufactured home; the blood found on the storm door and porch of Wright's home proved to be that of William Nard, who was injured in the struggle. Court appointed attorneys filed various motions, but in the end, all were denied, and prospects of the death penalty faced the three Iron City residents who had crossed the state line to commit the crime.

In an attempt to avoid death by lethal injection, Greg Leon Nard admitted to killing Wright and pleaded to the charge of capital murder with the promise of a sentence of life without the possibility of parole. William Nard, who had assisted his son in the actual murder, pleaded guilty to felony murder and robbery. He was sentenced to two consecutive terms of life with the possibility of parole. Such consecutive terms are highly unusual and are perhaps a de facto sentence of life without for the elder Nard who is almost 50 years old.

Ernest Widdowson pleaded guilty to felony murder, but was found to be innocent of charges of robbery in the theft of cash and a small stash of marijuana. Widdowson's testimony had backed up William Nard's in implicating Greg Nard as the actual assailant. Widdownson also freely admitted to assisting in holding Wright against his will, as well as not reporting the crime after returning to Iron City. For his part in the murder, on September 21, 2009, Judge Mike Jones sentenced Widdowson to twenty years in prison.

In all probability, Greg Wright would be alive if the Nards had not decided to spend their night drinking. In all probability, Ernest Widdowson would not have joined the Nards in their quest for the small sum of $70.00 if he too had not let alcohol cloud his judgment. Statistics show at least 80% of all violent crimes are fueled by the abuse of alcohol and other drugs. In this case, it cost Greg Wright his life.

This series of columns on the murder of Greg Wright is dedicated to his friend, whose life will always be diminished by the loss.