One of two Virginia brothers charged with murdering a Lorton construction worker last fall and then fleeing to Florida in the dead man's car pleaded guilty yesterday in Fairfax County Circuit Court to first-degree murder.
Robert Eddie Grogg, 19, of Spotsylvania County also pleaded guilty to robbery and use of a firearm in the Oct. 20 slaying of Hallie Hollis, 28, a North Carolina man who worked in the Washington suburbs. Hollis' body was found shot nine times in the head in the parking lot of Vulcan Materials Co. on Ox Road, where he worked.
Under a plea agreement, Grogg, the older of two brothers charged in the killing, could receive 28 years in the prison for murder, two years on the gun charge and a 10-year suspended sentence for robbery. He could be eligible for parole in about six years. Circuit Court Judge J. Howe Brown Jr. scheduled sentencing for April 25.
Grogg, who is unable to read despite an eighth grade education, has told police that Hollis picked him up, along with his 16-year-old brother Thomas and two juvenile girls as they were hitchhiking from their home on I-95.
Police have said in court that Robert Grogg told them he became annoyed with Hollis -- he didn't like his "attitude" -- and argued with his brother over which of them would kill the Williamston, N.C., man.
Thomas Grogg wound up pulling the trigger, according to police, but he became nervous afterwards and was admonished by his older brother, who said he should have done the killing.
Fairfax County Commonwealth's Attorney Robert F. Horan Jr. said he was satisfied with the plea agreement. "This is in the ballpark of where a jury would be," he said.
Grogg's lawyer Timothy J. McGary said that "it was in his best interest not to go to trial."
Hollis' body was discovered in a parking lot strewn with spent .22 cartridges, beer cans and pizza remains, according to Fairfax police investigator Joseph Hughes, who testified yesterday.
The victim's red car was later found near a lake in Volusia County, Fla. Divers searching the lake found several items of evidence, including a black roller skate with the name of Eddie Grogg written inside, according to police.
Grogg was arrested in Florida six days after the shooting and returned to Fairfax, where he has been held in the county jail. His younger brother was also apprehended there and returned to Fairfax, where he also is charged as an adult with first-degree murder, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony and robbery. His trial is scheduled for later this month.