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McCluskey trial: Murder or reckless conduct?

Clarence McCluskey

Clarence McCluskey

Assistant District Attorney Luke Martin told jurors at the conclusion of his opening arguments, "You'll know that this was no accident. This was murder."

Defense attorney Jamie Wyatt countered during his opening statement to jurors with, "We're not going to say this was an accident ... this was caused by the reckless conduct of Clarence McCluskey."

Both attorneys agreed that Clarence McCluskey had been drinking with friends in South Rome earlier in the evening, and that his wife had gone to pick him up and bring him back home. That is where the lawyers parted ways in their analysis of what happened that night.

Martin said the evidence would show that McCluskey put a handgun right to the head of his wife before he fired the lone fatal shot. Wyatt told the jury that McCluskey thought he had taken the bullet out of the chamber of the .25 caliber handgun earlier in the day.

Their grandson, Shawn Dupree, 16, testified that he had been upstairs in his room at his grandparents’ house that night and was not even aware that his grandmother had gotten back to the house with her husband of more than 30 years.

"Something just told me to go downstairs," Shawn told the jury. He said he smelled something weird as he was going down the stairs and at some point he described the scene as "chaos." After seeing his grandmother lying on the floor, Dupree told the jury he saw his grandfather "moping around, saying ‘I'm sorry, I'm sorry, this was not supposed to happen.’"

The teenager said he ran upstairs to tell his sister to call 911 but her cell phone was dead and the house phone wasn't working, so he ran to a neighboring house to call for help.

When he returned to the house, the 16-year old testified that he went back inside and held his grandmother's hand and said "I love you."

Dupree's mother, Felicia Dupree testified that her parents were, "like any married couple, they would argue sometimes." Later she told the jury that her mother usually brushed off the arguments and would be okay the next day. She testified that her father's drinking had gotten worse in recent years and that her mother had tried to get him help.

"When he was sober he was the sweetest man in the world," Dupree told the jury.

Testimony is slated to continue Thursday and jurors were told the case could last into Friday.

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