DURHAM — The bullet that killed teenager Darrel Turner hit him in the back, pathologist Jonathan Privette testified Thursday as the murder trial of Gabriel James Gamez continued through a fourth day.
Privette, who performed Turner’s autopsy, said the bullet fractured a vertebra and a rib before lodging in Turner’s heart on the night of June 23, 2011. Turner had been spending the night at a Durham hotel with other members of his high-school football team on their way to a camp in Florida.
Gamez, a resident of San Antonio, Texas, who was in Durham for a family funeral, is accused of killing Turner and wounding Thomas Woodson, then 15, after an angry exchange in a parking lot near the intersection of Mount Moriah Road and Chapel Hill Boulevard.
Gamez claims he was acting in self-defense.
Assistant District Attorneys Roger Echols and Josephine Kerr methodically introduced evidence on Thursday. Besides Privette’s testimony, they presented maps and graphs of the crime scene, photographs of bloody clothing and sandals identified as belonging to Turner and Woodson, clothing, and ammunition seized from the hotel room where Gamez surrendered to police.
On Wednesday, Woodson and his and Turner’s teammates from Gateway High School in Monroeville, Pa., gave their account of what happened. They said Gamez opened fire after he accused the teens of throwing something at him, possibly peanut shells, as he and the players were walking from restaurants to their respective hotels and met in the parking lot of an AT&T store.
Privette said Turner suffered three gunshot wounds. Besides the bullet that lodged in his heart, which Privette concluded was the cause of death, there were entry and exit wounds on his left leg and a wound on his left arm where a bullet grazed the skin, he said.
The trial resumes at 9:30 Friday morning.