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Jury finds 71-year-old Trevor Dooley guilty on all counts in "skateboarder trial"

9:18 PM, Nov 19, 2012   |    comments
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Video: Shooter takes the stand in skateboarder trial

  • 10 News reporter Melanie Michael interviews Dooley after he received the verdict Monday evening,November 19, 2012.
  • Trevor Dooley
    

 

UPDATE: The jury has reached a unanimous verdict in the Trevor Dooley case. He has been found guilty on all counts after deliberating for about an hour and 40 minutes.

They deliberated for about an hour and 40 minutes.

Earlier report:

Tampa, Florida - The testimony was considered riveting by everyone who watched it.

Trevor Dooley, a 71-year-old bus driver, took the stand Monday in his own defense. Dooley is on trial for aggravated manslaughter with a firearm in what is being called, "the skateboarder trial."

A deadly argument at the heart of this case took place two years ago when Dooley got into a fight with an Air Force veteran, David James, over a skateboarder who was practicing on the same basketball court where James was playing with his daughter, Danielle.

Dooley told the teenager skateboarder, Spencer Arthur, to get off the court. He explained to jurors that the court "cost a lot of money," and that it had "just been resurfaced."

James then defended the teen, asking Dooley repeatedly, "Where's the sign? Tell me where's the sign that there's no skateboarding!"

Dooley told jurors, "I decided no good can come of this, so I said in a low voice, 'Screw this, I'm going home.' I turned around and started walking back to my house."

He added emphatically, "You would be a fool to even think about starting a fight with [James.]."

But James allegedly followed after Dooley, and quickly the fight turned physical, with the two men wrestling each other to the ground. Seconds later, David James was dead, shot by the 71-year-old.

Dooley said Monday he was simply defending himself that fateful day and that David James, twice his size, was choking him. Dooley said he had no choice but to fire the gun that he had taken out of his right pocket.

Dooley told jurors, "He gave me no other choice. He was killing me. He had me by the neck. I couldn't breathe. He tried to take the gun away from me. If he took the gun away from me, what do you think he would have done with it? I had no other choice. I was on my way home. That's all I wanted to do."

Dooley described David James as a "big man." Dooley said, "The only thing I said to Mr. James was, 'I'm not here to fight with you.'"

Dooley also told jurors that he never pulled up his shirt to reveal a gun. He explained that he would never place a gun in his waistband, like witnesses had claimed, "because it's too close to my privates."

Dooley added that even though he tried to walk away and go home, David James refused to stop the argument. Dooley said that the 41-year-old demanded an answer, "'What did you say to me? Don't walk away from me. I'm not done with you yet.'"

When Dooley turned to leave, he says he heard David James coming up behind him.

Dooley claims that James grabbed him by the neck. "He had me by the throat and he saw the gun and he said, 'How dare you pull a gun on me!' and he slammed me to the ground." Dooley told jurors that he was "flat on his back" and that he was looking up at the sky at that point. He couldn't even see James. Dooley says that David James "never let go of my neck."

"I couldn't breathe," Dooley told jurors. "I feel like I was going to black out. I was scared. I poked him twice with the gun because I couldn't call out to him, 'you're killing me here,' because I couldn't say anything. I couldn't talk."

Dooley claims that he was "scared" because David James "tried to get the gun."

He added, "I didn't want him to get the gun," he said, "I can't breathe. Choking, squeezing. He was a strong man. I had no use of my left side, my left shoulder. It was hurt."

Dooley said, "I realized my hand was flat against his chest when he came up."

Then, it happened.

On the witness stand, Dooley sighed and his eyes stared straight forward.

Dooley's attorney asked, "Was Mr. James shot?"

"Yes," Dooley said, pausing for a moment. He then looked down and continued answering the question. Dooley slowly and methodically described what happened when the gun went off, and James was shot.

Dooley said, "He released my neck, stood up on both knees. His left leg slid off my right knee over my kneecap. He stood up and put his left hand over his chest and in his voice he said, 'He shot me.' And he was up for five, 10 seconds, and then he collapsed on top of me."

Trevor Dooley faces up to 30 years in prison, if convicted.  

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