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Updated: Victoria man not guilty in murder trial

By Jessica Priest
April 16, 2013 at 12:02 p.m.
Updated April 15, 2013 at 11:16 p.m.


UPDATE: A jury found a 38-year-old Victoria man not guilty Tuesday.

Grady Dwayne Duncan was charged with fatally shooting Forrest Marks, whom he had met at Coleto Baptist Church, the night of May 21, 2011 in the 7400 block of San Antonio River Road.

Duncan said he was protecting his family after Marks threatened to kill them.

For more updates on this case, visit www.VictoriaAdvocate.com or pick up Wednesday's paper.

A jury is deliberating in the trial of a 38-year-old Victoria man accused of murdering a church acquaintance.

Grady Dwayne Duncan, the state alleges, shot Forrest Marks with a .40-caliber Smith & Wesson the night of May 21, 2011 in the 7400 block of San Antonio River Road.

Duncan told jurors Monday that he pulled the trigger in self-defense and also because Marks threatened to kill his family. He said he would do it again, too.

Duncan said Marks was probably upset because he found out his wife was cheating on him with Duncan's brother-in-law, with whom she'd run away to Louisiana.

In closing arguments, Eli Garza, first assistant criminal district attorney, walked jurors through what was likely the last moments of Marks' life.

A doctor testified last week that Marks had just minutes to live after a hollow point round struck his abdomen and mushroomed out. He was shot possibly while he was sitting down at a ceramic table in Duncan's front yard. He had been welcome to visit with them before.

"He wanted to be with friends, and he thought he was with friends," Garza said.

Defense attorney George Filley said Duncan acted reasonably, given Marks' violent past. He also said Victoria County Sheriff's deputies had previously told the Duncans they had to take care of themselves in such a remote area.

It took nearly 30 minutes for a deputy to arrive after the shooting occurred with lights and sirens blaring.

"I agree a threat is not an action, but a threat coupled with action most definitely has to be handled and handled within seconds," Filley said after the state criticized the three seconds Duncan waited in between the first warning shot and the second fatal shot.

Jurors will decide whether Duncan is guilty of murder, not guilty of murder by reason of self-defense or not guilty by reason of defense of a third person.

Defense of a third person means a person may use deadly force if he believes an intervention is immediately necessary to protect that persons life, among other things, according to the court's charge.

Visit VictoriaAdvocate.com or pick up a copy of the paper Wednesday for more updates on this case.

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