Local News

Durham judge refuses to lower bond in football player's death

Posted April 3, 2012 12:32 p.m. EDT
Updated April 3, 2012 4:16 p.m. EDT

— A Texas man accused of killing a Pennsylvania high school football player in Durham last summer will remain in jail while awaiting trial after a judge refused Tuesday to lower his bond.

Gabriel James Gamez, 23, of San Antonio, was visiting Durham on June 23 for a family funeral when, police said, he got in an altercation with members of a football team visiting colleges across the Southeast on a recruiting trip.

Gamez is accused of shooting Darrell Turner Jr., 18, and Thomas Woodson, 15, in a parking lot in the 5300 block of McFarland Drive. Turner died, while Woodson was shot in the leg.

Since then, Gamez has been held in the Durham County jail under a $1 million bond, and Superior Court Judge Elaine Bushfan denied a defense motion Tuesday to cut the bond in half.

Defense attorney Rebecca Wiggins noted that Gamez is an Army veteran and that his family would ensure that he remains out of trouble until his trial.

Gamez' mother offered to move from Texas, get a job in North Carolina and take responsibility for her son if he were released.

"I would guarantee that any type of court dates set forth that he needed to appear (at) that he would indeed be there," she said.

Turner's father said he worries about the public safety if Gabriel Gamez were released from jail.

"I take solace at night knowing that, when I lie down, that this young man is behind bars," Darrell Turner Sr. said, adding that he's thankful his son was the only person killed in the confrontation last June.

Assistant Durham County District Attorney Theresa Pressley said Gamez was bragging about his gun in a restaurant earlier that evening and then pulled it on the football players when he encountered them nearby.

Witnesses said Gamez confronted the group and began arguing over peanut shells some of the players were tossing on the ground, Pressley said. The players scattered when they saw the gun, and Gamez fired several shots at the group as they ran, she said.

Wiggins said Gamez and the players were headed in opposite directions when words were exchanged. She suggested that he was defending himself during the shooting, noting that he was up against several football players.

"Here he was standing alone by himself as six to seven larger guys – football players – then turn to him," she said.

Wiggins also said that Turner threw something at him during the confrontation. Pressley said witnesses told investigators that the teen tossed a cup of ice on the ground.

The prosecutor also noted that police found more ammunition, handcuffs and a holster in Gamez' vehicle and that he has faced weapons charges before in Texas.

Gamez is charged with one count murder and five counts each of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill.