SHREVEPORT, LA (KTAL/KMSS) – A Caddo Parish judge has ordered the extradition of a Shreveport man accused of shooting and killing a Panola County sheriff’s deputy on New Year’s Eve during an attempted traffic stop.
The order came following a hearing in which incriminating phone calls made by the suspect from jail were played in court.
47-year-old Gregory Dewayne Newson is wanted in Panola County on a warrant for capital murder of a peace officer in the shooting death of 28-year-old Deputy Christopher Dickerson, who was shot during a traffic stop just outside of Carthage around 2 a.m. on Dec. 31. Authorities say Newson abruptly jumped out of his vehicle and opened fire when Deputy Dickerson pulled him over. Authorities believe the wounded deputy was able to return fire. He later died of his injuries at the hospital.
When Newson was captured following a chase and wreck about an hour later in Shreveport, he was suffering gunshot wounds. He also had a punctured lung and broken ribs as a result of the crash.
Newson has remained held without bond on charges of aggravated flight from an officer and out of state fugitive in Caddo Parish since his arrest after he refused to waive extradition on Jan. 3, requiring the Panola County District Attorney to formally request Caddo Parish hand Newson over into their custody in order to face the capital murder charge in Texas.
On Thursday, Newson sat quietly in a wheelchair as a recording was played of a phone conversation he made from inside the jail in which he claimed Deputy Dickerson followed him for miles before he stopped him and got out of his unit with a gun in his hand. Newson could be heard on the recorded call saying the deputy fired first and that he fired back because he thought he was trying to kill him.
In that phone call, Newson described how he walked over to the wounded deputy after he had fallen to the ground with the intention of asking him, “Why did you shoot me?” but he said the deputy shot at him again. Newson said he shot the deputy again before getting back into his car and driving off. In the call, Newson said he had been shot four times in the leg.
Inmates are notified that all phone and video calls made from inside the jail can be monitored. Caddo Parish District Attorney’s Office investigator Lee J. Scott testified that more than 20 phone and video calls involving Newson were monitored between Jan. 14 and Feb. 24, all of which could be used in court. Newson’s attorney John Griffin objected to the recording being played Thursday morning in open court, citing concerns about publicity and his client’s right to a fair trial. But District Judge John Mosely, Jr. agreed with the state’s argument that the evidence is critical to proving there is sufficient reason to believe Newson was involved in the deputy’s killing and justify his extradition.
During the hearing, Texas Ranger Joshua Jenkins testified that the man seen in the deputy’s dash cam and body cam was not clear enough to specifically identify the shooter – only that he was a black man with a beard. Deputy Dickerson had called in the license plate of the vehicle Newson was driving before pulling him over, and it was the same GMC Yukon Newson crashed an hour later in Shreveport. Some of Thursday’s testimony appeared to be aimed at clearing up confusion caused by the fact that the intial alert to be on the lookout for the suspect’s vehicle in the deputy’s shooting described it as a Tahoe.
Jenkins also testified that Newson did not admit to shooting the deputy when he was read his rights, but that he did say he was “ready to go to the electric chair.” Jenkins said a short-barrel rifle with a magazine, $5,000 and a little over 1 lb of marijuana were found in the Yukon Newson was driving and wrecked before his capture.
During the recorded call played in court, Newson said he shot at a car that he thought was following him when he got into Shreveport. That car turned out to be an off-duty officer in an unmarked unit. The officer was not injured, but had to give up the chase out of concern about continuing to drive with a shattered windshield. The on-duty officer that ultimately captured Newson also testified. SPD Cpl. LeBrian Marsden said he sent in his K9 after Newson wrecked out on Buncombe Road, but that the police dog couldn’t see Newson at first because he had crawled out from the other side of the wrecked SUV. Marsten said Newson got up and ran across the interstate when he saw the K9, but was captured shortly after.
The aggravated flight from an officer charge Newson was facing in Shreveport has been dismissed, since he will be sent to Texas to face the capital murder charge. If convicted, Newson could face the death penalty. Before he can be arraigned in Panola County, a grand jury will review the case to determine whether there is enough evidence to indict Newson.