Convicted killer files for new trial in gang beating death - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Convicted killer files for new trial in gang beating death

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SPARTANBURG, SC (FOX Carolina) -

An Upstate family is heartbroken after the man convicted of brutally killing their son is asking for a new trial.

Gregory Nathaniel Scott was convicted of murder and first-degree lynching in 2008. He was sentenced to life in prison.

His victim, "John-John" Costanza, may be gone, but his memory is everywhere in his parent's home. They wear T-shirts with his photo and have mementos covering their living room even six years after his death.  

"We go to the Greenlawn Cemetery, we visit or try to visit once a week and see John-John," said his father, John Costanza.

John-John Costanza was brutally beaten to death. Prosecutors said he was killed after he asked to join a gang, then changed his mind. Six people were charged in connection with his death. Scott was fingered as the ringleader. Prosecutors said he was a recruiter and five star general for the Blood Stone Guerillas gang. Prosecutors say he was one who ordered a savage beating on the 25-year-old victim.

John-John Costanza's family tearfully watched the verdict five years ago.

"I was glad they found him guilty, but I was wondering what kind of sentence he was going to get," said the victim's mother, Theresa Costanza.  

Now, even after a life in prison sentence, they can't find peace.

"There's a letter from the state attorney, and it says he wants a hearing for a new trial. I just couldn't believe it, again we have to go through it again," said John Costanza.  

They say other people convicted in the case are also fighting for shorter sentences, and now the sights and memories they inevitably face are unbearable.

"You have to see these people in prison, you have to see them face to face," said Theresa Costanza.

As the family waits for the hearing and a decision, they say they're sticking together and will always fight for their John-John Costanza, who was taken too soon.

"I hope justice will prevail this time, you know John-John needs it," said Theresa Costanza. "He has to finally rest in peace one day. He has too, it's not fair to him." 

Scott's post conviction release hearing will determine if he does get a new trial. The hearing is scheduled for Nov. 12.

The attorney general's office says they will fight that from happening to uphold Scott's conviction.

FOX Carolina called Scott's attorney, Shawn Campbell, in Spartanburg. Campbell says they do not wish to issue a statement at this time. Throughout the trial in 2008, Scott maintained his innocence and claimed he is not affiliated with any gang.

Copyright 2013 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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