Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Gray Trial Underway, Mayberry to Testify Tomorrow

Nearly two years after a Muldrow football player, Christian Mayberry, then 16, suffered a traumatic brain injury in an ATV accident on Sept. 1, 2013, a Muldrow woman went on trial for a felony charge of failure to stop at an accident resulting in non-fatal injury.

Angela Gray also faces two misdemeanor counts of contributing to the delinquency of minors and selling or furnishing alcoholic beverages to minors.

A six-man, six-woman jury was chosen for the trial Monday in Sequoyah County District Court in Sallisaw and testimony began Tuesday.

Prosecuting attorney Michael Ashworth in his opening statement asked, "Who pays the price?'

Ashworth said Christian Mayberry is "a gentle giant" who played football for Muldrow High School. Ashworth said there was a party going on in the Muldrow bottoms on Sept. 1, 2013, and "lots of beer" was available for adults and teenagers.

Ashworth said the timeline, and witness testimony, would show that Angela Gray with friends and some teenagers were drinking and driving that ATV. He said testimony would show that Gray was driving the ATV and Mayberry was a passenger when they were seen leaving a convenience store in Muldrow. He said phone calls would show that accident happened shortly after 9 p.m., and calls were made to Sequoyah County 911, but the caller hung up.

Ashworth said Mayberry was left lying injured in a ditch until about 12:04 a.m. on Sept. 2 when Gray's son, Joey, finally called 911 for an ambulance. The prosecution contends that help for Mayberry was delayed so beer cans, both empty and full, could be removed from the scene and so that Gray could escape the scene.

"Who pays the price to be a cool mom?," Ashworth asked again. "Christian Mayberry paid that price."

Defense attorney Gary Buckles of Poteau said in his opening statement that Gray will testify.

"She will show a completely different characterization than presented by the prosecuting attorney," Buckles said.

Buckles argued there were disputes about many things involved in the case such as who was driving the ATV, the timeline, and other issues.

He concluded that Gray had her son, Joey, call for help.

The case against Gray began quickly with a recording of the 12:04 a.m. Sept. 2, 2013, call from Gray's son, Joey, to 911 on his own cell phone, and 911 hang ups from a cell phone belonging to Kyle Brannon, who was also at the scene. The first 911 hang up was shortly after 9 p.m. Sept. 1, 2013.

In cross examination, Buckles then, and later in the testimony, using the phone records obtained by the prosecution, demonstrated that Brannon's cell phone made many hang-up calls to 911, even on into Sept. 3.

Ashworth pointed out that investigator Eric Helms found that 50 cell phone calls flew between the Grays', Brannon's and other cell phones between the hours of 9 p.m. and midnight that evening.

A friend of the boys and fellow football player, Cade Matthews, testified he saw the whole group leave a Muldrow convenience store at about 8:30 p.m. that day, and that Angela Gray was driving the ATV.

Taben Morris, who was invited to the party by Brannon, testified for the prosecution that she, Brannon, Joey Gray, and two others went to the site of the crash at about 9 p.m. after Joey got a call from Angela Gray.

Morris said Gray told her, "She was driving and they wrecked." Morris testified that the boys were throwing beer cans into the woods. She testified the boys tried to put Mayberry in the back of one of their pickup trucks, but couldn't lift the 6-foot, 6-inch, 250-pound football player. She testified she told them to call 911. 

Morris said, "Joey poured  a beer on Christian Mayberry's face and said, 'Christian, wake up!' "

Under cross examination by Buckles, Morris testified she made three statements, and admitted the statements differed. She denied being threatened with arrest, until Buckles read from a transcript from a previous hearing. At that hearing Morris said she was told she could be arrested.

"Did you lie?" Buckles asked.

"Yeah, I guess," Morris said. "I was scared. I didn't want to be made out to be a liar."

Testimony will continue at 9 a.m. Wednesday.

Christian Mayberry is on the witness list for the prosecution, and will be at the courthouse for Wednesday's testimony.

The trial is expected to conclude this week.

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