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Texas man found guilty of first-degree murder in Durham parking lot shooting

Posted May 2, 2013
Updated May 3, 2013

— A Durham County jury on Thursday found a Texas man guilty of first-degree murder in the shooting death of a Pennsylvania teenager nearly two years ago.

Gabriel James Gamez, 24, of San Antonio, was automatically sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the June 23, 2011, death of Darrell Turner Jr.

Turner, 18, was with a group of high school football players from the Pittsburgh area when he was struck by a bullet in the back that pierced his heart during a confrontation in a parking lot.

A teammate, Thomas Woodson, then 15, was shot in the leg.

The jury deliberated for more than 12 hours over three days before reaching its verdict Thursday afternoon.

Gamez was also found guilty of five counts of assault with a deadly weapon. He was found not guilty on five counts of attempted murder.

Turner's parents were pleased by the verdicts.

"When you have the truth on your side and you have the Lord on your side, you don't have to worry about it," Darrell Turner Sr. said.

"God is good," his mother, Rosemarie Turner, said.

She said the verdict brought relief, but little comfort considering all that she has missed – "his smile, his hugs, all of that, because we were around each other all the time. We played games together in the house. We did a lot of stuff together."

This week, her son would have celebrated a birthday.

The healing process has been eased some with the birth of their daughter Daria.

"You kind of look at her face, and she looks a lot like her older brother when she was this age," Darrell Turner Sr. said. "She keeps us going."

Texas man found guilty in Durham shooting Texas man found guilty in Durham shooting

Gamez's mother did not want to talk Thursday afternoon but said Wednesday that she couldn't imagine her son spending the rest of his life in prison.

His defense attorney gave the court notice that they plan to appeal.

Gamez, a security guard who had been in Durham for his grandmother's funeral, testified Monday that he drew his gun and began firing at the group in self-defense after he thought he was going to be shot.

He denied trying to hurt anyone, saying he was just trying to defend himself.

But prosecutors argued that Gamez was the aggressor and that the teens – on their way to a football camp in Florida – did nothing wrong. The shooting wasn't in self-defense, they said, because Turner was shot from behind.

His teammates testified that they encountered Gamez on their walk back to their hotel from dinner and that he cursed them with a racial epithet.

They started running, they said, when Gamez pulled his shirt up to show a gun in his waistband. Then, they heard gunshots.

Prosecutors offered no direct motive for the shooting but suggested race could have been a factor.

A restaurant employee testified last week that Gamez told her he would shoot any black person who said anything to him or his family. Turner was black.


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  • Lightfoot3 May 3, 2013

    “A boy was shot in the back and died. You can spin it all you want…” – Unbroken

    nicoleg98 is probably right. More than likely they were talking junk to him, probably threatening him too. Sounds like he too was pumped up and should have kept his mouth shut.

    I carry, but I do EVERYTHING I can to avoid confrontation. I certainly don’t criticize strangers for their behavior. People are crazy these days. I’ve had two encounters where I was ready to draw, but didn’t need to. One was a peeping Tom I encountered in my yard one night and the other was an aggressive person asking for beer money that approached me behind a commercial store. Only when I TRULY sense IMMINENT attack will my gun leave the holster.

  • Lightfoot3 May 3, 2013

    “Isn't that always the claim in these cases?” – thinkstraighter

    Yep. And to add some gravy, this case has someone claiming he specifically said he would shoot a black person that talks to him or his family. Sounds just too fishy to me. I’m not justifying him shooting people, but I think those “children” probably were talking big and bad at him.

  • UPTOP May 3, 2013

    Families on both sides have suffered a loss. The difference, one family can always have some form of communication for a lifetime, while the other has to Mourn for a lifetime !

  • ncmedic201 May 2, 2013

    Nicole, what are you even arguing about? Sounds like he doesn't deny the shooting, just claims it was self defense.

  • UNCRules123 May 2, 2013

    They don't understand because you are talking insane mush -Grand Onion

    Wow, resorting to insults when you don't get your way. Now that's surprising.

  • Hubris May 2, 2013

    "he cursed them with a racial epithet"

    Isn't that always the claim in these cases?

  • CaryEngineer May 2, 2013

    Grand Union-"The 5 year old shot his sister dead."
    Wow...we finally agree on something! That no one should be allowed to have children unless they can prove the means and competency to raise them...that was your point...right?

  • sickofhollywood May 2, 2013

    If he doesn't like Black people, his disposition is not likely to get better in prison. Have a good life Gomo.

  • nicoleg98 May 2, 2013

    "o you're saying NONE of the bullets matched, but since they can't find anyone else they'll just punish poor ole gabe - OR, maybe they all shot themselves and Gabe happened by only trying to help."-Ven

    Ven- I am stating that NO BULLETS WERE FOUND AT THE CRIME SCENE, only 3 shell casings. Also 4 wounds yet only 3 casings. Gamez's bullets(one of them) would have to had traveled through two people. From the boys "stories" their is very little possibility that would have occurred. The boys stated as soon as Gamez lifted his shirt they spread out running..a stray bullet so happened to travel through TWO boys even though SUPPOSEDLY no one ran in the same direction... No one got gun residue tested except Gamez, Turner and Woodson. All I am saying is there is doubt..there is doubt that it DIDN'T come from his gun.

  • tgiv May 2, 2013

    "I told you all the football players provoked him."

    Because you were there, right?