Man accused in triple murder takes the stand in his own defense - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Nick Kenney

Man accused in triple murder takes the stand in his own defense

Gordon Gwathney in court Monday. Gordon Gwathney in court Monday.

A man on trial in Arkansas for the murders of his mother-in-law and her parents took the stand in his own defense Monday.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for 47-year-old Gordan Randall Gwathney. He is accused of killing his mother-in-law, Sylvia Reeves, and her parents - 81-year-old J.O. Mitchell and 79-year-old Evelyn, at a home on Arkansas 261 in Lee County in early 2007.

Gwathney is also accused of attempting to kill his brother-in-law, Travis Reeves, and St. Francis County Deputy Tracy Jackson, who was responding to the shooting.

Police say Gwathney was armed with a .40 caliber pistol and a semi-automatic rifle when he went to the home just after 1 a.m., looking for his wife, Lisa Reeves, who suffered injuries during the attack. She ran to the home of her brother and notified police of the shootings.

On the stand, Gwathney said post traumatic stress disorder after a military tour of duty in Somalia led him to the attack.  Gwathney told jurors he does not remember anything from the day of the murders.

"I'm very, very sorry about what happened.  But I just don't...I just don't understand what happened.  I loved those people, and I'm devastated by it," he said.

Gwathney was on the stand for more than an hour, telling jurors at one point he still loves his wife.

Last week, Gwathney's attorney, Gerald Coleman, told jurors his client suffers from insomnia, depression and social isolation. The defense says Gwathney also was taking medication prescribed to him by a Veteran's Administration doctor.

Gwathney was arrested in Laredo, Texas, a week after the killings, near the border with Mexico.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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