Man gets life in prison in 2016 witness killing at Jacksonville apartment complex

Aaron Gregory pleads guilty to 1st-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, directing activities of criminal gang, possession of firearm by convicted felon

Aaron Gregory (Jacksonville Sheriff's Office)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A man will spend the rest of his life behind bars after pleading guilty in the 2016 killing of a witness that was ordered from jail, State Attorney Melissa Nelson announced Friday.

Nelson said Aaron Gregory pleaded guilty to first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, directing the activities of a criminal gang and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Immediately after the plea, Judge Jim Daniel sentenced Gregory to consecutive life sentences in state prison.

In December 2017, Gregory was indicted on the first-degree murder charge. The State Attorney’s Office said public documents show Gregory and Hercules Bowers were “instrumental” in the 2016 death of 62-year-old Michael Wright, a security guard who was scheduled to testify against Quintae Hudson.

Wright was shot several times around 10 a.m. March 27, 2016, Easter Sunday, at a gated apartment complex on King Street, just south of Beaver Street, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. Prosecutors said Wright was a resident of the complex and was employed as a security guard there.

Hudson, who was already behind bars awaiting trial on an aggravated assault charge, ordered the hit on Wright after Wright saw Hudson throw a concrete block into a car with a family inside, prosecutors said.

While in jail, Hudson — a high-ranking member of the NeighborHood Bloods Rollin 20s gang — had phone conversations with Bowers in which he asked that Wright be killed so he could not testify, prosecutors said.

Bowers, the regional leader of the gang, facilitated the killing that was executed by Gregory, a member who then received a promotion in the gang, according to prosecutors.

Hudson was previously indicted and then convicted of ordering the murder of the witness. When he was sentenced to life in prison without parole, he had an outburst and was led out of the courtroom.

Duval County court records show Bowers has pleaded not guilty.