NEW INFO: Marbury Accepts Plea Deal in Club Babylon Shooting

By: WSAZ News Staff Email
By: WSAZ News Staff Email

Porter, who was shot and killed by police, was also charged in a shooting that happened in Huntington in 2007.  This is his photo from that arrest.

UPDATE 10/15/12 @ 2:30 p.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The man at the center of the 2009 Club Babylon shooting in Huntington had a change of mind Monday and accepted a plea deal.

Last month, Reginald Marbury said no to a plea deal that would have reduced an attempted murder charge to malicious wounding in connection with the shooting of Sontezz Lomax back at Club Babylon in November 2009.

That shooting set off a chain of events that led to the police arriving at the nightclub and shooting Joe Porter. Porter died from his wounds.

During a hearing Monday afternoon in Cabell County Circuit Court, Marbury entered a Kennedy plea to a lesser offense of malicious wounding. The other charges against him were dismissed.

Following the plea, he was sentenced to 2-10 years in the regional jail.

Kent Bryson with the Cabell County Prosecutor's Office told, “Our biggest goal was to close this matter, we want to get justice for the victim and get this case behind us."

Marbury’s trial had been set for November 27.

Bryson also said that Marbury faces unrelated drug charges out of Ross County, Ohio.

UPDATE 9/25/12 @ 10:50 a.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The man at the center of the 2009 Babylon shooting in Huntington was back in court Tuesday.

Reginald Marbury is charged with attempted murder in connection with the shooting of Sontezz Lomax back in November 2009. That shooting set off a chain of events that led to the police arriving at the Babylon nightclub and shooting Joe Porter.

Tuesday, prosecutors offered Marbury a deal. If he would plead guilty, the charge would be dropped to malicious wounding. Marbury declined the plea deal.

Marbury will now go to trial on attempted murder charges.

The deal is still on the table at this time.

Marbury is set to go on trial Nov. 27.

Keep clicking on for the latest information.

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Thanks to a concerned citizen and Google, Reginald Marbury is back in jail after being on the run for 18 months.

Thursday morning, Marbury, 26, was arraigned in Cabell County Circuit Court on an attempted murder charge.

He was arrested in November 2009 following a shooting at club Babylon in downtown Huntington.

Investigators say Marbury shot Sontezz Lomax, setting off a chain of events that led to the police to arrive and shoot and kill Joe Porter.

Porter was shot after investigators say her pointed a gun toward the officer as he was running out a back door of the bar.

Following his arrest, Marbury waived his case to a grand jury and posted bond. He was indicted for the shooting in January 2010.

The Cabell County Prosecutor's Office says he never returned for any court appearances.

Recently they got a tip that Marbury was going to be appearing in court in Ross County, Ohio on drug trafficking charges.

Prosecutors say the person had googled Marbury's name and then alerted authorities.

After the hearing in Ross County, Marbury was immediately taken into custody and brought back to Cabell County by US Marshals.

Because of his high risk of flight, Judge Paul Ferrell set Marbury's bond at $150,000. If he makes bond he will be required to wear a GPS monitor.

His pretrial is set October 6. His trial is set is for January 10, 2012 at 9 a.m.

UPDATE 6/3/10 @ 3 p.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The Estate of Joseph Jeremaine Porter is suing the City of Huntington and Huntington Police Officer Ronnie Lusk in a civil suit filed Tuesday, June 2.

Porter died from his injuries after being shot by Officer Lusk outside of Club Babylon on Huntington's Fourth Avenue November 8, 2009. According to findings from a grand jury released May 22, it was determined there was no wrongdoing on the part of Officer Lusk.

However, the suit alleges wrongful death, claiming Officer Lusk, "Shot Joe Porter through the right arm into the chest, without provocation from Joe Porter, and for no apparent reason."

The suit also alleges after Officer Lusk shot Porter, he and other officers restrained, threatened and intimidated witnesses.

According to the suit, Officers of the Huntington Police Department failed to seek timely medical treatment for Porter after he had been shot, subdued and handcuffed.

LaToya Hackett and Betty Jo Radford, co-administrators of the estate, are seeking damages as the jury may determine and that the court award attorneys' fees and costs.

If you want to read the entire complaint click here.
It may take a few minutes to load this file due to it's size.

UPDATE 5/21/10 @ 6 p.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Huntington police and the Cabell County Prosecutor's Office held a news conference this afternoon to answer some long-awaited questions.

According to findings from the Grand Jury that met this week, they determined there was no wrongdoing on the part of the officer who shot Joe Porter.

During the news conference, Cabell County Prosecutor, Chris Chiles, read a summary of the grand jury's findings. Then, crime scene investigator, Stephen Compton, showed visual references of what happened when and where.

They said when police entered the club trying to secure the scene, they shouted to individuals several times to be still, put their hands up. According to the report, when they encountered Porter, he refused to obey. The officer grabbed Porter's arm and when he spun around, he was holding the silver .45-caliber handgun. The report says it was fully loaded with an extra large clip and a laser tactical light on the side. That's when the officer fired a shot. That bullet entered porter's right arm, exited his arm and entered the right side of his chest.

“When Mr. Porter chose to ignore the officers’ commands to stop and get on the ground, but instead chose to turn with a gun in his hand pointed at the officer at waist level, the officer was justified in firing his weapon in defense of himself, his fell officers, and other potential victims still inside the club,” said Chiles.

Ballistics tests revealed that Porter's gun had not been fired.

We also learned the identity of the officer involved for the first time. His name is Ronnie Lusk. He's 32 and has been on the HPD for 8 years. Chief Skip Holbrook says he's an outstanding officer and has received several commendations. Officer Lusk was initially placed on administrative leave, but returned about a month later after a complete review.

Most importantly, the Huntington Police Department wants to stress this investigation was conducted along with several other agencies. Guns were submitted to the ATF for ballistics tests and the FBI also assisted in reviewing the autopsy and with interviewing some of the witnesses.

Porter's Mother Gay Ferguson says she disagrees with the Grand Jury's findings. Ferguson tells she believes Chief Holbrook is lying and that this is what she expected from Friday's press conference.

UPDATE 5/21/10 @ 4:30 p.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- In a press conference Friday afternoon, Huntington Police released information on the November 2009 shooting at Club Babylon.

They say that on May 19, the Cabell County Grand Jury heard testimony from law enforcement officers regarding the events that happened at the club, which resulted in an officer with the HPD shooting Joe Porter inside the club. Porter died as a result of the gunshot wound.

A press release states, "The Grand Jury determined that there was no wrongdoing on the part of the officer involved" in the incident."

A summary of the findings of the Grand Jury is as follow:

  • There was an altercation shortly after 3 a.m. inside Club Babylon.
  • Officers were in the area and heard gun shots.
  • A short time later and individual ran to a police cruiser, got in the back seat and asked for assistance because he had been shot.
  • More officers responded to the scene and not only heard more guns shots, but actually saw a muzzle flash.
  • Officers entered the club with weapons drawn.
  • Officers pursued two men through the club and gave them repeated verbal commands to stop, but the men refused.
  • The chase continued through the club
  • An officer finally was able to grab Mr. Porter by the arm. When he did, Porter began to turn towards the officer, and at that point the officer saw a silver handgun in Porter's right hand. Porter began to raise the gun towards the officer, and when he got the gun to about waist level the officer fired one shot, which was later determined, struck Porter in his right arm and then exited his arm and entered his right chest.

    The press release also states, "When Mr. Porter chose to ignore the officers' commands to stop and get on the ground, but instead chose to turn with a gun in his hand pointed at the officer at waist level, the officer was justified in firing his weapon in defense of himself, his fellow officers, and other potential victims still inside the club."

    To read the complete report from the Cabell County Grand Jury click here.

    Keep clicking on for more information on the press conference.

    UPDATE 5/21/10 @ 1 p.m.
    HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) – Police and prosecutors are ready to release their findings on the Club Babylon shootings that lead to the death of Joe Porter. Porter was shot and killed by Huntington Police during the incident at the club last November.

    The Cabell County Prosecutor’s Office and Huntington Police have scheduled a 4 p.m. press conference Friday to discuss grand jury findings in the case. That grand jury met earlier this week

    What started as an exchange of gunfire between two men outside the club, ended with a third man inside the club being shot by a police officer. That officer has never been identified.

    Joe Porter, 30, died from his injuries. Over the last several months, police have sent off firearms for ballistics examinations and several individuals have been prosecuted.

    At the center of this case, did the Huntington Police Officer act in an appropriate manner when he shot and killed Porter.

    Remember, Police said Porter had a gun and was pointing it at them in a threatening manner when the officer shot. That is 's one possible issue the grand jury could decide in relation to whether that officer acted in an appropriate

    Nicole Hughes, who's 22, admitted to carrying the gun into the club that Reginald Marbury, a 25-year-old Michigan native, used to shoot Sontezz Lomax, 29, of Huntington.

    Christopher Lewis, 28, from Thurmond, Ohio was also shot in that outside shoot-out.

    For her role in all of this, Hughes was sentenced to felony accessory before the fact to attempted murder. Her three to 15-year sentence was suspended and she was sent to a program for youthful offenders instead. Marbury is charged with attempted murder.

    Keep clicking on for updated information.

    UPDATE 11/20/09
    HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The alleged gunman in the Club Babylon shooting in Huntington waived his right to a preliminary hearing on Friday.

    The attempted murder case against Reginald Marbury will now go to a grand jury in January.

    During the hearing, Marbury’s bond was reset to 100,000 dollars. If he makes bond his address will be kept secret for his protection

    UPDATE 11/11/09
    HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A man has been arrested and charged Wednesday in connection with the shootings that happened at a downtown Huntington club early Sunday morning.

    Huntington Police say 25-year-old Reginald Marbury of Huntington was arrested and charged with one count of attempted murder.

    Detectives say Marbury fired several rounds from a handgun during the shooting incident at Club Babylon on 4th Avenue, injuring 29-year-old Sontezz Lomax of Huntington. Investigators say Marbury and Lomax got into a fight before the shooting.

    Marbury was also shot during the bar shooting.

    Marbury, Lomax and 28-year-old Christopher Lewis of Thurmond, Ohio, have all been released from the hospital since being shot during the shooting incident.

    HPD says one of its officers shot 30-year-old Joe Porter once in the chest during that incident, killing him. The officer says Porter had a gun at the time.

    Marbury was taken to the Western Regional Jail in Barboursville.

    UPDATE 11/10/09
    HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Huntington Police have released new details about the bar shooting where a city police officer shot and killed a man they said was armed.

    The shooting happened early Sunday morning at Club Babylon on 4th Avenue.

    Police nearby responded to the bar after hearing shots fired. Three people were shot and sustained non-life threatening injuries before officers arrived.

    According to a news release, Joe Porter was shot once in the chest by a Huntington Police officer. He died a few hours later and an autopsy was performed.

    The news release also gives a detailed timeline of events from Sunday morning:

    • 3:06am: Incident began at Club Babylon when Huntington Police officers hear shots fired
    • 3:11am: Ambulance called to the scene to treat Porter's injuries
    • 3:14am: Ambulance arrives at the scene
    • 3:29am: Ambulance transports Porter to the hospital
    • 3:33am: Ambulance arrives at hospital
    • 6:00am: Porter pronounced dead at hospital

    Huntington Police say the firearms involved in the incident are being submitted to the ATF laboratory for testing and analysis.

    Other agencies involved in the investigation include the ATF, FBI, DEA, West Virginia State Police, Cabell County Sheriff's Department, and the Marshall University Police Department.

    Investigators are not releasing any other details at this time.

    UPDATE 11/9/09
    HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Huntington Police Chief Skip Holbrook responded Monday to more questions about the shooting that left one man dead and three others injured.

    “There is a lot of speculation throughout the community," he said. "Simply because it is an emotionally charged situation, it just causes us to take pause and have a heightened sense of alert.”

    That's the police response in the wake of a nightclub shooting at downtown Huntington's Club Babylon. It happened around 3 a.m. Sunday, leaving three people injured outside the club and one person shot and killed inside.

    Joe Porter, who was 30-years-old, was killed by a Huntington police officer. Holbrook says it will be a while before police release that officer's name.

    “We're simply giving the officer opportunity to be with family and loved ones, seek outside assistance that may be necessary," he said.

    Holbrook added that the information will be released after the officer has a chance to regroup.

    Officers responded to the club early Sunday within seconds of the first shots, in part because of a new strategy. The first officer to respond was parked on that block watching the club.

    “At particular times, there is an increased presence downtown and often that's supplemented with assistance from sheriff's department, state police and MU police,” Holbrook said.

    That includes presence by Holbrook who had just wrapped up a random overnight patrol about an hour before the shooting.

    “I have a personal philosophy," he said. "I like to get out from behind my desk and see firsthand the effects of decisions we make and seeing how we can do things better and getting input.”

    In the end, Holbrook says a thorough and fair investigation is underway with some specific answers to come very soon.

    “I hope people are patient and understanding and have confidence in our ability to conduct an investigation and be very transparent for what we do,” he said.

    Police aren't saying yet whether Porter fired any shots during the shooting. Police say he is well known to them, with more than 30 charges dating back 12 years. All of the charges were dropped but two misdemeanor drug charges. Porter was most recently charged with malicious wounding two years ago, but those charges also were dropped after the key witness backed out.

    UPDATE 11/8/09 @ 10 p.m.
    HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Police say a fight that broke out inside Club Babylon on 4th Avenue in Huntington led to shots being fired. So far, investigators are still trying to sort out what started the fight and who was involved. Right now, they know an officer in the area heard the commotion and came to check things out -- and that's when more shots were fired.

    Once police got to the club, they say they saw two men take off towards the door. One of those men was Joe Jermaine Porter. Police say Porter had a gun and pointed it toward the officer and that's when the officer shot him, fatally wounding Porter.

    But the chaos didn't end there. Hours later police say a home on 10th Avenue and 25th Street was the target of a drive-by shooting. Police say no one was injured, but the home was struck several times by bullets. Investigators are still trying to determine if the shooting was connected to the 4th Avenue shooting.

    Mark Simmons lives in the neighborhood. He says the drive-by shooting doesn't surprise him.

    "About every two months someone is getting shot at or somebody is getting hurt. I see cops drive by but every time you turn around something happens and we're all getting tired of it," said Simmons.

    Tensions ran high throughout the city. A security threat related to the 4th Avenue shooting forced Cabell Huntington Hospital to go into lockdown for about two hours Sunday morning. Some of the night club shooting victims were taken there and their friends and family followed.

    Chief Skip Holbrook says in a situation where loved ones are shot, it's obvious that emotions are going to flare up.

    "Many times when people learn of a tragic death, they react differently and obviously this was a very volatile situation to begin with and that carried over to the hospital."

    The hospital's public relations manager, Charles Schumaker, says the hospital was closed off between 7 and 9 a.m. Sunday. He tells that the lockdown was just a precautionary measure and wouldn't give specific details of the security threat.

    The officer involved in the shooting is on administrative leave, which is standard procedure following an officer involved shooting. Chief Holbrook says they are not ready to release the officer's name yet.

    UPDATE 11/8/09 @ 3:30 p.m.
    HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Huntington Police say one man is dead and three others injured after an early morning shooting involving a city police officer.

    Huntington Police Chief Skip Holbrook says Joe Jermaine Porter was shot by a police officer. He was 30 years old. Porter was pronounced dead at an area hospital at 6:00 Sunday morning.

    According Holbrook, police got to Club Babylon on Fourth Avenue in downtown Huntington just after 3:00 a.m. An officer, who happened to be in the area, heard gunfire and responded to the scene. When he got there, he saw injured victims outside, then went into the club to look for possible suspects.

    The officer said he saw two people trying to flee. One of the two people was Porter, who police say was carrying a handgun. That's when police shot him.

    Police say three other people were wounded in an exchange of gunfire before the officers arrived.

    Reginald Marbury, 25, was shot one time in the left knee and is being treated at an area hospital for non-life threatening injuries. Marbury is originally from Detroit, but currently lives in Huntington.

    Sontezz Lomax, 29, was shot in the right shoulder and right buttocks. He was treated and released and is currently in police custody on an unrelated charge. Lomax is a lifelong Huntington resident.

    Christopher Lewis, 28, was shot one time in the left leg. He is being treated at an area hospital for non-life threatening injuries as well. Lewis is a resident of Thurmond, Ohio and student at Marshall University.

    The officer who shot Porter has been placed on administrative leave until an internal investigation can be completed. Holbrook says that is just department procedure.

    "This is something we obviously take very seriously," Holbrook said during the conference. "We want to assure everyone that we are giving this our full attention."

    The name of the police officer who shot Porter is not being released at this time.

    Keep clicking on for more information.

    Chief Holbrook would not allow us to carry the news conference live. WSAZ has a reporter at the news conference. Keep clicking on for more information

    UPDATE 11/8/09 @ 12:30 p.m.
    HUNTINGTON, W.Va (WSAZ) -- Huntington Police have blocked off 4th Avenue in between 8th and 9th street, as well as a parking lot across the street from where a shooting was reported early Sunday morning.

    Police say they are still in the process of gathering evidence.

    Huntington Police Chief Skip Holbrook says a press conference is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. Sunday to discuss the details of the shooting.

    Still no word on the condition of the shooting victims.

    ORIGINAL STORY 11/8/09
    HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Cabell county dispatchers confirm that at least four people were shot outside a Huntington nightclub.

    Dispatchers say an officer driving in the area heard shots shortly after 3 a.m. near 831 Fourth Avenue.

    Huntington Police are investigating. So far, no word on the conditions of the victims.

    Keep clicking on for the latest on this developing story.

    EDITOR'S NOTE: comments have been disabled on this story at the request of Joe Porter's family.

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