A 19-year-old Texarkana man accused in the January death of a 2-year-old made a court appearance Wednesday in Bowie County.
Clifford James Gayton, Jr., appeared Wednesday with Texarkana lawyers Josh Potter and Eric Marks for a pretrial hearing before 102nd District Judge Bobby Lockhart. Potter and Marks announced that Marks is joining Gayton’s defense team.
Assistant District Attorney Kelley Crisp confirmed that jury selection in the case is scheduled to occur at the Bowie County courthouse in New Boston, Texas, on Nov. 29 and that testimony will begin Nov. 30. Lockhart scheduled the case for a final hearing Nov. 28 in New Boston.
Gayton had been dating and had moved in with the child’s mother not long before the death. Da’Corian Wright was pronounced dead Jan. 28 at his mother’s home on Elizabeth Street in Texarkana, Texas. The boy’s mother left him and his little sister with Gayton for several hours that day while she went to work, according to a probable cause affidavit. When she came home, the mother said she thought the children were sleeping but realized Da’Corian was cold and not breathing when she checked on him around midnight.
Da’Corian had been struck so hard that some of his internal organs showed tearing. A Texas medical examiner reported to Texarkana, Texas, police that the boy had bruises to his head, torso, legs and pelvis as well as severe damage to internal organs. Da’Corian’s sister apparently showed signs of abuse also.
Gayton is facing charges of capital murder, first degree murder and injury to a child. The state is not seeking the death penalty so if Gayton is found guilty of capital murder, he will receive an automatic sentence of life without the possibility of parole. If found guilty of first-degree murder, Gayton faces five to 99 years or life with parole possible.
Gayton is currently in jail. Bail is set at $2 million.