Teen accused of capital murder to undergo mental evaluation

Gayton with Attorney Josh Potter and ADA Kelly Crisp April 6, 2016

A Texarkana teen accused of capital murder in the January death of his former girlfriend’s 2-year-old son will undergo a mental evaluation.

Clifford James Gayton, 19, appeared Wednesday before 102nd District Judge Bobby Lockhart for a pretrial hearing. Gayton’s attorney, Josh Potter of Texarkana, told Lockhart he had a motion ready to file which seeks a court order for an evaluation to determine if Gayton is competent to stand trial.

Assistant District Attorney Kelley Crisp said the state has no objection to Potter’s motion as information the state has uncovered in its investigation of the death of Da’Corian Wright and injuries apparent on the body of his 18-month-old sister indicate Gayton has had issues with his mental health previously.

Lockhart granted Potter’s motion on the spot. The evaluation does not necessarily mean there will be a delay in Gayton’s trial, which is scheduled for jury selection Nov. 1. In addition to Da’Corian’s murder, the jury will be tasked with deciding if Gayton is guilty of causing injuries to the toddler’s sister. Gayton is charged with capital murder and first degree murder in Da’Corian’s death.

If found guilty of capital murder, Gayton will receive an automatic sentence of life without the possibility of parole because the state is not seeking the death penalty. If found guilty of injury to a child in connection with the girl’s injuries, Gayton faces two to ten years in prison.

Gayton was allegedly the only person with Da’Corian at the time he sustained blunt force injuries severe enough to tear internal organs. His mother was at work and believed he was sleeping when she returned the night of Jan. 28. Da’Corian was pronounced dead at the scene after paramedics were called.

Gayton is being held in the Bowie County jail. Bail is set at $2 million. Lockhart scheduled him to return to court in September to address the status of the case.

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