Co-defendant in fatal shooting gets 20 years

Posted Friday, Feb. 15, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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FORT WORTH -- One of three men accused in the fatal shooting of an 18-year-old Everman High School graduate as he played a video games in his home was convicted Friday of aggravated robbery and sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Tarrant County prosecutors had asked the jury to find Dominique Jones, 21, guilty of capital murder in the death of Daniel Garner.

After deliberating for less than five hours Friday, the jury chose the lesser crime.

The sentencing phase began immediately. At 6:45 p.m., jurors returned with a sentence of 20 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

The maximum sentence on an aggravated robbery conviction is 99 years.

Had Jones been convicted of capital murder, he would have received an automatic sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Co-defendant Damian Lamon Murkledove, 21, of Fort Worth was convicted of capital murder in April and is serving a life sentence without parole. He was the one who shot Garner, prosecutors said.

A third defendant, Bryan Alonzo Jones, 26, no relation to Dominique Jones, is free on bail awaiting trial on a capital murder charge.

Without Jones' input about Garner's family's house and possessions, the crime on Feb. 19, 2010, might have never occurred, prosecutor Mark Thielman said during closing statements.

Defense attorney Steve Gordon told the jury that Murkledove was the executioner and that his client was guilty of burglary or possibly robbery, but not of murder.

Authorities said several items were taken after Garner was shot, including a rifle, a small safe where Garner's mother kept medications for the foster children she cared for, purses, a computer, two gaming systems and a large flat-screen television

"Bryan Jones and Murkledove didn't know about the treasure trove of electronics in this house," Thielman said. "Bryan Jones and Murkledove didn't know about the gun under the bed. Bryan Jones and Murkledove didn't know about the lockbox where the medicine was. Bryan Jones and Murkledove did not even know where the house was."

Garner was between jobs, his mother, Karen Clerkley testified Tuesday. Her son had been laid off after working a Christmas-season job for United Parcel Service, Clerkley said.

He had graduated from Everman High School a few weeks earlier, she said.

When she went home for lunch that day, "he was playing a game in the living room," Clerkly said. "He would stand up and play the game right in front of the TV, even though the TV was big."

She reminded Garner to take out the garbage and told him to change out of his pajamas.

Prosecutors said Garner was standing in front of the TV when he was ambushed. It's a safe assumption that when he took out the garbage, he forgot to lock the door, Thielman said.

"When they came in, they start shooting," Thielman said. "He runs out of his house shoes into his mother's bedroom and then he runs out of room to run. He runs out of time."

First, they shot him in the back while he was running and while his hands were up, Thielman said during closing arguments.

Then, Murkledove shot him three times as he lay on the floor of his mother's bedroom, Thielman said.

"In order to get the purses, you have to step over Daniel's body," Thielman said. "In order to get the purses, you have to step over Daniel's dead body." Dominique Jones gave the purses to his grandmother, Thielman said.

He was not aware that a gun would be used, Gordon said.

Jones went to the house to commit a burglary with no intent to use a weapon, Gordon said. His client, as young men sometimes do, made an error in judgment, he said.

"Stupid decisions like going over to another man's house with a group of young men and trying to scare someone," Gordon said. "Both these mothers raised their children better than this."

Mitch Mitchell, 817-390-7752

Twitter: @mitchmitchel3

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