Defense paints picture of troubled, suicidal man

Lawton_Was it murder or suicide?  If you ask the defense, they'll say Peter Maurek killed himself, and today they presented their case against Gregory Maurek.

Maurek is accused of shooting his brother, Peter, more than two years ago.  For three days, the prosecution has painted the picture of Gregory killing his brother in cold blood with a bullet to the back of his head.  Continuing testimony indicated Greg reloaded the .50 caliber Desert Eagle, engaged the safety, and laid it on a nearby table - something the gun could not do on its own.

The defense presented its witnesses on Thursday.  They painted a much different picture of Peter Maurek.  Every witness who took the stand told the jury about Peter's addictions, his obsession with guns, and his thoughts of suicide.  They say that's why he took his own life.

Among the witnesses were his brother-in-law, two sisters, a friend of the family and an ex-girlfriend.  All told of Peter's struggle with drugs and alcohol, stemming from a very young age.  Later in life, Peter suffered through his brother's suicide, and his mother and father's deaths.  He was his parents' primary caretaker, and the witnesses say it hit him hard.  But, they say they believe the trauma that drove him to take his own life was the death of his long-time girlfriend from what one witness says was a drug overdose.

They say he felt guilty for enabling her addictions, and it made him suicidal.  Peter died just two weeks after his girlfriend.  The defense's key witness, Dr. Tim Proctor, corroborated the character witnesses portrayal.  Proctor was hired by the defense to perform a psychological autopsy - an exam for questionable deaths.  He says he found almost twenty high risk suicide factors that may have led Peter to commit suicide.

Peter was a drug abuser, he was depressed, he was not married, he had no children, he had lost close members of his family, he was financially unstable - and, the list continued.  Proctor concluded that Peter ran an extremely high risk of suicide.

Prosecutor Bill Riley told the jury that it's hard to get a real picture of what Peter was like - after the fact.  He said the doctor's conclusion is only based on what limited information he has been given.  Proctor insisted he used several sources to come to his conclusions.

The trial will continue Friday morning with the defense calling one more witness to the stand.  Following that testimony, the jury will deliberate.  If Maurek is found guilty of first degree murder, he could be sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.