Maurek found not guilty in murder trial

Lawton_Gregory Maurek was found not guilty Tuesday in the shooting death of his brother, Peter.   A Comanche County jury deliberated for three hours before returning their verdict.  The defense maintained through the weeklong trial that Peter Maurek suffered from depression, alcohol and drug abuse, and was suicidal at the time of his death.

The prosecution built its case largely on physical evidence that they said showed it would not have been possible for Peter to have pulled the trigger.  But, the defense challenged the reliability of that evidence, and criticized investigators for failing to take a closer look at evidence that would have proven Gregory did not commit the murder.  The defense also stressed that the state had not presented a strong motive for the killing.

In closing arguments, the prosecution said alcohol and marijuana may have played a role in causing Peter to become suicidal, and perhaps Gregory shot Peter on impulse, out of frustration for causing stress in those around him.  Defense Attorney Debbie Maddox implored the jury to consider that Peter Maurek had lived a painful, hard life and couldn't cope with his brother's suicide, his parents' deaths, and the death of his long-time girlfriend who died just weeks prior to his own death.  She asked the jury to acquit Gregory Maurek and send him home.

Gregory Maurek bowed his head after the verdict was read, and mouthed a thank you to the jury.  Gregory's family is grateful for the jury's decision.  "Now we can grieve for my mom, my dad, my brother - it's just been hell for the family.  It's been awful," said Heidi Maurek, Gregory's sister.

Assistant District Attorney Bill Riley was philosophical about the jury's decision. "The jury heard all the evidence.  I'm comfortable that we had a good jury and justice was served," he said.  Gregory Maurek said he has mixed feelings about the verdict.  "Now, I'm kind of angry for Peter doing that in front of me," he said. "But, after two and a half years of hell,  I'm finally a free man and I'm going to enjoy life again."