Man killed during carjacking was witness in 2012 murder

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ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - The man who was fatally shot during a carjacking on Friday was a state witness in a murder that happened at the same location in 2012, according to officials.

Orange County deputies said someone ambushed 39-year-old Marcus Hicks in the front yard of his Monk Avenue home Friday afternoon.

The gunman targeted Hicks as he was returning home, according to investigators. His girlfriend and child, who were with him at the time, were uninjured.

"They were both allowed to get out of the vehicle before the suspect fled the scene with the vehicle," Cpl. Dave Nutting with Orange County Sheriff's Office said.

Hicks was fatally shot and his Cadillac Escalade was stolen, deputies said. The vehicle was later found abandoned in an orange grove off of Boy Scout Road.

Eyewitness News discovered Hicks was a state witness in the July 2012 murder of 29-year-old Dunyell McGriff. Family members said McGriff and Hicks were cousins.

Arthur Avery, 34, was charged with murder in connection with McGriff's death. According to the court docket, Avery's trial was recently postponed to February 2014.

Authorities said Avery was moved to the Seminole County Jail at the beginning of November. They will not disclose the reason for transferring him to a different jail.

Meanwhile, deputies are following leads in the investigation into Hicks' murder. Investigators said they have no indication that Hicks' testimony was the motive for his killing, but it's a theory they're looking into.

Anyone with information regarding the homicide is asked to contact the Orange County Sheriff's Office.