Capital murder trial begins this week in Bowie County

Gayton with Attorney Josh Potter and ADA Kelly Crisp April 6, 2016
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New Boston, Texas–Jury selection is scheduled to begin Tuesday morning at the Bowie County courthouse in New Boston for a Texarkana teen accused of beating a 2-year-old to death in January.

Clifford James Gayton, 19, faces life without the possibility of parole if convicted of capital murder in the death of Da’Corian Wright. Gayton is also accused of injuring the boy’s younger sister.

Opening statements and testimony are expected to begin Wednesday morning before 102nd District Judge Bobby Lockhart. Assistant District Attorney Kelley Crisp is prosecuting Gayton. Texarkana lawyers Josh Potter and Eric Marks are representing him.

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Gayton is facing charges of capital murder, first-degree murder and first-degree injury to a child in connection with Da’Corian’s death. The jury may have the option of finding Gayton guilty of one of those three charges or acquitting him of all three. Gayton is charged with third-degree injury to a child for allegedly causing injuries to Da’Corian’s younger sister which were found by child welfare workers who responded at the time of the boy’s death Jan. 28.

The boy was pronounced dead at the scene after he was found unresponsive by his mother in their home in the 4600 block of Elizabeth Street, according to a probable cause affidavit. The mother told investigators Gayton was the only person who had access to the boy while she was at work. The mother said she believed Da’Corian was sleeping until she went to check on him around midnight and realized he was cold to the touch and not breathing. An autopsy allegedly revealed blunt force injuries to the boy’s head and blunt force trauma to his body serious enough to tear some of the child’s internal organs.

Gayton faces life without the possibility of parole if convicted of capital murder. The state is not seeking the death penalty because of Gayton’s age and lack of prior criminal history. Gayton faces two to ten years in prison if found guilty of third-degree injury to a child in connection with the injuries suffered by Da’Corian’s younger sister.

Gayton is currently in Bowie County custody. Bail is set at $2 million.

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