Emotional testimony opens trial in 2016 murder of waitress

Published 12:38 am Thursday, March 7, 2019

SALISBURY — In emotional testimony Wednesday, Mary Gregory cried as she recalled seeing her daughter, 38-year-old Lacynda Feimster, murdered in front of her.

Gregory was the first witness to testify in the murder trial of Sindy Lina Abbitt and Daniel Real Albarran, who are both charged with first-degree murder and assault with a deadly weapon.

Feimster, a popular waitress at O’Charley’s affectionately known to her family as Lucy, was a mother of four.

Gregory detailed how on May 24, 2016, Abbitt and Albarran spoke with her daughter in the parking lot and then forced their way into their Crown Point apartment.

Initially, Albarran paced in the living room with Gregory, who was holding Feimster’s crying 3-year-old son, Meaco. Eventually, they all were crammed into the tiny bedroom Feimster shared with her son.

Gregory said she asked what was going on but didn’t get any answers. At one point, she was struck in the face with a gun. She was momentarily dazed and told the court she didn’t know how long she was down.

“She was holding Lucy down with her knee on her side,” Gregory said, sobbing. “She said, ‘B—-, you should’ve gave me the (expletive) money.’ Then she pulled the trigger.”

“What did the female do?” Assistant District Attorney Clayton Jones asked Gregory.

“She pulled the trigger and shot Lucy in the head,” Gregory said.

Feimster was in a fetal position, clutching her son, her mother testified. She was shot at least once, then Abbitt and Albarran left, Gregory said.

A distraught Gregory tried to move her daughter and remove Meaco from Feimster’s grasp, but she couldn’t. So she banged on her living room wall hoping her neighbors in the apartment next door would hear. Nobody came.

She called 911 and then called her granddaughter, NaKyia Green, who lived a few apartments away.

Jurors listened to the five-minute 911 recording that was at times hard to understand. Gregory could be heard screaming, crying and begging for help as the dispatcher pleaded with her to calm down.

Feimster’s family members, too upset at hearing the recording, left the courtroom in tears.

Gregory described the woman who shot her daughter and then pointed out Abbitt in court. She then described the man who was with Abbitt as Albarran and pointed him out as well.

Albarran’s attorney, Karen Biernacki of Salisbury, asked if Gregory noticed any tattoos or other distinguishing characteristics on the man. Gregory said she did not.

Albarran does have tattoos, including one on his neck and others on his hands.

Gregory said Albarran was wearing a jacket and “dirty-looking” latex gloves.

She said Abbitt was the one who smacked her in the face and told her to stay down. Gregory had a broken nose that required stitches, she told the court.

Gregory said Abbitt also told her that the assault didn’t have anything to do with her.

She said Albarran did what Abbitt told him to do and searched the bedroom. Her turned over clothes baskets and a hamper, dumping clean laundry on the floor.

“I told them Lucy didn’t have any money,” Gregory said.

She said her daughter even told them if she had money, she would give it to them.

According to statements discussed in court, Gregory identified Abbitt and Albarran through a photo lineup. Salisbury police officers showed her a number of pictures and she positively identified the pair.

Police Capt. Brian Stallings spoke with Gregory while she was in the hospital. She recounted the details of the murder to him.

Through his testimony and that of Gregory, it was unclear if Gregory remembered a few details like whether Albarran had a gun, whether his hairstyle was straight or wavy, and whether Abbitt also had tattoos that were visible.

Stallings told the court he was acting police chief at the time. He said he remembers that Gregory appeared to be traumatized, visibly shaken, and rambling hysterically.

Crime Scene Investigator Victoria Young told the court what she took pictures of at the scene and why she took pictures or collected certain pieces of evidence.

Young pointed out a few blood stains in the living room, including what appeared to be a bloody handprint on a wall.

The print is likely that of Mary Gregory, who said she hit the wall to get her neighbors’ attention.

In her opening statement, Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Greene said Abbitt and Albarran denied knowing each other and denied killing Feimster. But jurors will see that cellphone records tie them together, she said.

“Lacynda Feimster was murdered; that happened. … The important part from where I’m sitting is whether Ms. Abbitt was involved,” said Abbitt’s attorney, Teresa Church, in her opening statement.

She went on to say Abbitt had a family cookout the night of the murder and was seen there.

Biernacki said in her opening statements that jurors will hear about the evidence that was collected. including a gun that was tested with results that were inconclusive.

The trial resumes at 9:30 a.m. today.

Contact reporter Shavonne Walker at 704-797-4253.