Trial date set for man accused of killing three family members - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Kontji Anthony

Trial date set for man accused of killing three family members

The man accused of killing three of his family members in a shooting spree will use mental illness as his defense, attorneys said Monday.

In a hearing Monday, prosecutors said Gordon Randal Gwathney was trying to kill his estranged wife when he shot and killed his mother-in-law and her parents last February.

Monday, a jury trial in the case was set for May 5th of next year.  During the hearing, Gwathney's ex-wife, Lisa Reeves, and her family sat on one side of the courtroom, while his parents and family sat on the other.

"When he was sitting down by his attorney, he looked at me three different times. Just looking at me," Lisa Reeves said.

Reeves said the grace of God was helping her cope with the murder of her mother and grandparents.

"I was hoping maybe to see some sort of remorse, which anybody would want to see, and I just didn't see any," she said. "I didn't see anybody that maybe has accepted what they've done."

In court, Gwathney maintained his innocent plea. His attorney told the judge mental disease could be part of his defense.

"Right now, he's trying to save his life, but I don't foresee it flying," Reeves said.

Gwathney tried to get out of Monday's court appearance, but Judge L.T. Simes ordered him to appear, he does not want any technicalities down the line.

When asked if the high publicity could move the case out of town, Judge Simes said, "I don't see any problems at this time. There are a number of motions that we're going to take up. If that issue comes up before the court, we will have to take it up."

Reeves said she asked if she could meet with Gwathney, but would not say what she wants to tell him.

"I think that'll be between he and I," she said. "It won't be a very long. It won't be very long if it does happen."

Reeves said she forgives Gwathney, but he must pay for his actions.

Gwathney's parents, attorneys and the state declined comment. 

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