Updated

Gray convicted of murdering Bedias man

By GREG OKUHARA

Eagle Staff Writer

ANDERSON — A jury found Rodney Gray guilty Friday of murdering a Bedias man during a confrontation, rejecting the defense’s argument that he was acting in self-defense.

Gray’s sentencing hearing will start at 9 a.m. Monday at the district courthouse in Anderson. He faces five to 99 years or life in prison but also could receive probation because he had not previously been convicted of a felony.

The unanimous decision from the jury came after nearly 2 1/2 hours of deliberation.

Gray, who is from Louisiana, was arrested after an 11-hour manhunt following the March 9 shooting death of Jeffery Guy Pierce. Gray told investigators he acted in self-defense when he shot Pierce after he refused to leave a house where Gray was baby-sitting four girls, ages 8 to 15.

During closing arguments, Assistant District Attorney Andria Bender said witnesses testified that Gray, 36, shot an unarmed man who was in the process of complying with his demands to leave the house.

“You can’t use deadly force just because someone is aggravating you verbally,” she told jurors.

Bender went on to say that Gray had harbored a grudge against Pierce for six years and was standing in Pierce’s way when he tried to leave.

David Barron, Gray’s defense attorney, told jurors that Pierce was “stoned out his mind” and was not acting rationally and was there to fulfill a sexual desire for teenage girls.

He said Gray fired two warning shots at Pierce, one striking him in the leg, but that failed to stop Pierce from advancing.

“What would you do in that situation?” he asked jurors, describing Pierce as a bully. “Rodney Gray had no other options in this case.”

However, Bender said witnesses testified Pierce did not make any threatening moves toward Gray and therefore legally Gray could not have acted in self-defense.

“What happened is just plain murder,” she said.

• Greg Okuhara’s e-mail address is gokuhara@theeagle.com.

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