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Gregory Witman’s Murder: How Did He Die? Who Killed Him?

December 1, 2020
4 min read
Image Credit: The Atlantic

Investigation Discovery’s ‘The Witmans’ is a documentary about a 1998 murder case in York County, Pennsylvania, involving two brothers and probes that led to more questions than answers. This unimaginable tragedy, which starts with the murder of Gregory Witman, is one that has baffled the Witman family, their community, and the entire County for more than 22 years. And now, the details of it, including the harsh realities of the juvenile criminal justice system, are getting exposed. So, if you’re here curious to know all about Gregory’s case, we’ve got you covered.

How Did Gregory Witman Die?

Image Credit: FindAGrave.com

On October 2, 1998, Gregory Witman, or Greg, as anyone who knew him referred to him as, was going about his day as usual. He went to school, studied, had fun with his friends, and then came back home. But then, within an eight-minute window, he was brutally murdered in the laundry room inside his home. Greg’s elder brother, Zach, then 15, had stayed home sick that day, so being the only other person in the house, when he heard a commotion downstairs, he went in to check. And according to his 911 call, all he saw was his younger brother lying in a pool of his own blood, unconscious and almost decapitated.

As soon as the officers arrived, they took over the crime scene. And after containing every bit of evidence that they could find near Greg’s body, they sent him in for an autopsy. There were more than 100 stab wounds on Greg’s upper body and neck, according to an official report. His throat had been slashed 17 times, and he had been stabbed another 65 times around his neck. There were a total of 25 deep defensive wounds on Greg’s hands – 9 to the right and 16 to the left. And finally, a lot of smaller injuries covered his collarbones and forearms, but they weren’t officially counted because they seemed like scratches.

According to the pathologist who examined Greg’s body, he died quickly. But before his throat was cut so deep that the weapon hit his spine, severing his windpipe and all but one major blood vessel, Greg fought hard to remain alive.

Who Killed Gregory Witman?

Gregory Witman’s case was one that the investigators knew they had to solve, and quickly, especially considering his age and the heinousness of the act. And so, they soon began a thorough search of the property where Greg resided with his brother and parents for some evidence, only to find a cheap metal and plastic penknife, along with a pair of black soccer gloves covered in blood, buried in the backyard. The penknife, with its sharpness, was determined to be the murder weapon. And as the gloves seemingly belonged to Zach, he was charged with his brother’s murder within a week of the incident.

After all, Zach Witman was the only person who was constantly near the scene of the crime at the time it was transpiring. The law enforcement officers also found one shallow cut on Zach’s left ring finger, assumed to have been obtained while he was attacking Greg, and they had noticed that the sweatshirt he had been wearing that day was bloody. At first, because Zach’s top was only covered with blood and not soaked, they believed that it must have transferred on to him from Greg when he tried to wake him up or move his body, but once he became the prime suspect, it became evidence against him.

Zach, who had maintained his innocence throughout the years, was tried in 2003, at the age of 19. In court, the prosecution argued that in the brief eight-minute period, Zach stabbed his brother, walked through the house and into the backyard to bury the evidence, returned inside to take a phone call from Greg’s best friend, and then called 911. Zach and his defense team, on the other hand, argued that it was not possible to do all that in such a small time frame and that he had no motive. But as the state of Pennsylvania does not require the prosecution to provide a motive at a murder trial, it didn’t make a difference.

In the end, in May 2003, Zach Witman was found guilty of murdering his brother, Gregory Witman, and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. After years of appeals, evidentiary hearings, maintaining innocence, and court dates, in 2018, Zach pleaded guilty to the charge against him, admitting to stabbing and killing his brother, for a chance at parole.

Read More: Where Is Zach Witman Now?

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