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Friend gives testimony during murder trial

Profile image for By Megan Gray / Staff Writer
By Megan Gray / Staff Writer

Testimony began Tuesday in the trial of Daniel Scott Gary, a Denton County resident accused of shooting and killing his father, William “Carl” Gary, 65.

Daniel Scott Gary, 35, was arrested in connection with the fatal shooting of his father, who was shot in the face with a shotgun in Bolivar, an unincorporated community 14 miles northwest of Denton, in April 2011.

Prosecuting attorneys Michael Graves and Matt Shovlin, representing Denton County District Attorney Paul Johnson’s office, called James Venable to the stand.

Venable, a 57-year-old Lake Dallas resident, said he had known Daniel Gary since the summer of 1996.

“I restore old cars, and he was a real big fan of a Firebird I had,” said Venable about the beginning of their friendship.

Venable went into detail describing Saturday, April 9, 2011, the day of Carl Gary’s death, before the jury and Judge Margaret E. Barnes in the 367th Judicial District Court. Venable said he was “shocked” to see Daniel Gary pull up in his father’s older model blue Ford F-150 around 7:30 p.m. that day.

“He was never allowed to drive Carl’s truck, so I had a feeling there something wasn’t right,” said Venable.

Venable said Daniel Gary got out of the truck while holding a shotgun with its barrel pointing toward the sky.

“He appeared well inebriated,” Venable said. “When I asked if the gun was loaded, he shucked shells to the ground.”

Venable said Daniel Gary ended up asking for a ride to his friend’s house since the truck wouldn’t start. After he arrived back, he confessed, according to Venerable.

“He [Daniel Gary] came back, took an ax and smashed the truck window, got in and started the truck. As he was starting to pull off, he looks back at me and says, ‘I shot my father.’ This confirmed my worst fears, basically.”

Prosecutors also interviewed other friends and investigators who worked that case.

All witnesses who were friends of Daniel Gary’s testified they knew Daniel was never allowed to use his father’s truck, confirming something was out of the ordinary when he pulled up in it.

Throughout the case and during a brief opening argument, defense attorney Bruce Isaacks routinely questioned why the death was so quickly labeled as murder without anyone questioning whether the death could be anything else.

Prosecutors submitted much of their evidence, including the shotgun found in the truck, many photographs, an audio recording of the dispatch call from Venable after the confession, various shotgun shell casings and video from the dashboard camera of Sanger police Officer Reese Dunn, the first officer to respond to the death.

“The evidence is being presented to the jury at a swift pace, as planned,” said Assistant District Attorney Jamie Beck via an e-mail statement on behalf of the prosecution. “We anticipate completing our portion of the evidence [today].”

Isaacks declined to comment on the ongoing trial.

MEGAN GRAY can be reached at 940-566-6885. Her e-mail address is .