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Son on trial in father's death

POSTED: August 22, 2012 10:00 p.m.
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Puckett

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In a trial expected to last through the week, a 28-year-old man stands accused of killing his father in April 2008.

Testimony began Monday in the case of Kevin Puckett, who faces one count each of murder, felony murder and family violence aggravated assault in the shooting death of Luther Puckett, 59.

Authorities have said the elder Puckett was shot several times in a domestic-related incident at the family’s Castleberry Farm Drive home in northeastern Forsyth.

If convicted of the charges, Kevin Puckett could be sentenced to life in prison.

Testimony began Monday morning before Forsyth County Superior Court Chief Judge Jeffrey S. Bagley, with the prosecution calling witnesses ranging from neighbors and family members to law enforcement officers.

In his opening statement, Assistant District Attorney Michael Mahoney described the scene in Luther Puckett’s downstairs bedroom that night.

Mahoney said the elder Puckett had been shot several times, including once to his eye at close range. The floor had a trail of feces.

Kevin Puckett’s attorney, John Rife, countered the bullets can’t be matched with his client’s gun, which was found on his nightstand after the incident.

Rife’s contention was supported by witness testimony that fingerprints weren’t taken from the weapon, nor were they gathered from the doors or windows to rule out the possibility of forced entry.

“I don’t even think someone smelled the gun to see if it had been recently fired,” said Rife, adding that it’s not clear who committed the shooting.

Witnesses described Luther Puckett as a friendly man and neighborhood gossip with a passion for his lawn. Though he relied heavily on a crutch after his feet were crushed in an accident during the early 1990s, Puckett was able to get around.

“Despite his disability he could do remarkable things,” Mahoney said. “But he couldn’t outrun six bullets.”

Kevin Puckett lived in the home with his parents. Through testimony in court from his mother and three sisters, the case appears to have divided the family.

Under questioning from Chief Assistant District Attorney Sandra Partridge, Irene Puckett indicated she and one of her daughters didn’t want the state to prosecute her son.

She also said she and Luther Puckett had “been together all of our lives. We just had a good time together.” She came home that night from a trip to the store and found her husband dead.

According to various accounts, only one other person besides the Puckett men was in the home at the time of the shooting — Kevin Puckett’s biological son, who was then two months shy of his third birthday.

Now 7, the child was called as a witness. Though he said he saw Kevin Puckett, who he calls Diddy, shoot his grandfather with a gun, he also said he was in the crib downstairs when it happened.

But photographic and video evidence showed there was no crib downstairs.

Rife said evidence shows the child wasn’t near the room when the shooting took place.

 

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