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Man who escaped death penalty shot in Orange County

An Orange County resident is accused of shooting a man early Wednesday who was once acquitted of a double slaying.

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HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. — An Orange County resident is accused of shooting a man early Wednesday who was once acquitted of a double slaying.

Investigators with the Orange County Sheriff's Office said that Durante Turan "Big Mac" Davis, 33, of 2716 Hayes Drive, shot Robert "Peanut" Gattis Jr., 46, at Davis' home east of Hillsborough at about 5:45 a.m.

"There had been words exchanged at the residence, and then Robert Gattis came back later," said Capt. Archie Daniel of the Orange County Sheriff's Office.

A deputy apprehended Davis about a mile from his home. He was charged with assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill resulting in serious injury.

Gattis was in stable condition Wednesday afternoon at Duke University Hospital, investigators said. His cousin, Christopher Hilton, said Gattis was shot twice in the head.

"He's got some pellet holes through his eye that might take his eye out," Hilton said. "I hope he's all right."

Gattis was acquitted in the slayings of two men during an attempted robbery of a poker game in Hillsborough in 2002.

Months after the 2003 murder trial, he was charged in a Cary bank robbery. A jury acquitted him in that case as well.

Hilton said that Gattis has a long-standing, acrimonious relationship with Davis. Investigators have said the two men knew each other but haven't commented on a motive.

"They've never liked each other," Hilton said.

Gattis was shot while in his car, then jumped out of the car and banged on his cousin's door, waking him and his parents up, Hilton said. Gattis then drove himself to his girlfriend's house, where paramedics picked him up.

State Department of Correction records show that Gattis has criminal record dating to 1981, including convictions for being a habitual felon and robbery with a dangerous weapon. He most recently served time for 2007 larceny and safe-cracking convictions.

Davis has previous convictions for possession of drug paraphernalia, DOC records show.

"We've dealt with both of these gentlemen for some time," Daniel said.

Davis was being held Wednesday in the Orange County Jail under a $1 million bond. He was also wanted a warrant for failure to appear in court on a drug charge.

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