Medical examiner: Grandfather's leg wounds proved fatal

Apr. 24, 2014 @ 05:31 PM

An 83-year-old grandfather died from complications of gunshot wounds to his legs, a medical examiner told jurors Thursday in Durham County Superior Court.

Dr. Samuel Simmons of the N.C. Medical Examiner’s Office performed the autopsy on homicide victim George Junior Pratt, who was shot during a 2010 carjacking.

Simmons said Pratt had wounds in his left leg above the knee and the inside of his lower right leg.

Pratt was shot April 7, 2010, and died two months later after staying at Duke University Hospital and later in a hospice.

A toxicology test on Pratt’s body detected morphine, used in a clinical setting for pain, but no alcohol, Simmons said.

The medical examiner said Pratt appeared to have moderate heart and kidney disease, and recently had contracted pneumonia and an infection.

“Most likely, the ultimate cause of death was infection from the gunshot wounds,” he testified.

Robert Earl Wilkerson, 31, was charged with murder. He is represented by attorney Matt Cook.

A witness testified Wednesday that he saw a car pull up beside Pratt’s car on Franklin Street, near Alston Avenue, about 11 a.m. the day of the incident. A man got out of the passenger side and told Pratt: “I got your old [expletive]” and shot him twice, pulled him out of the car and threw him to the ground. He said the gunman got into Pratt’s car, and he and the driver of the suspects’ car departed in opposite directions.

Soon after the shooting, Durham police found the suspects’ vehicle near at a house on Currin Road in Durham.

Police arrested Wilkerson and two others: Leryan Ishmael Scarlett, 30, charged with murder and armed robbery; and Sharell Roberson, 28, charged with felony accessory after the fact and filing a false police report. They will be tried later.

The prosecution, led by Assistant District Attorney Jim Dornfried, plans to call Scarlett as a witness against Wilkerson.

Testimony continues today, with Judge Osmond Smith presiding.