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Preacher sentenced to 15 years in prison on first-degree manslaughter conviction

An Oklahoma County jury late Friday convicted a preacher of first-degree manslaughter in the shooting death of his son-in-law during a dispute over a pickup.
by Matt Dinger Modified: March 8, 2014 at 12:46 am •  Published: March 8, 2014

But a police investigator testified that soot marks on Gary Davidson’s hand showed he had swiped at the gun, rather than grabbing for the weapon, as Elder testified.

April Davidson testified that Gary Davidson had grabbed her neck and shoulder area while inside the pickup, but did not hit her. She did not mention a weapon in Gary Davidson’s hand.

April Davidson had in the days before the shooting begun telling her father about a pattern of abuse that Gary Davidson perpetuated towards her during their relationship.

April Davidson also testified that Gary Davidson used methamphetamine.

Elder’s defense attorneys argued that it was the drug that created the “crazed look” in Gary Davidson’s eyes just before the shooting.

A “toxic” amount of the drug was found in his blood at the time of his death, Choi testified.

In closing arguments, Lavenue argued that April Davidson’s account of the events had changed multiple times since the shooting.

“April Davidson can’t tell the same story twice to save her life,” Lavenue said. “April Davidson doesn’t want to lose her dad.”

“April Davidson is the only person you’ve heard describe Gary Davidson as a violent person,” she said.

Defense attorney Malcolm Savage argued in closing that Elder had his two grandchildren in his own vehicle and was going to church after the exchange was made.

“Gary Davidson was the aggressor,” Savage said. “Everyone had turned to leave, but he wasn’t going to let that happen.”

“What this case boils down to is a father trying to protect his child. He was trying to protect his child from someone who has done some horrible things,” he said.

“Gary Davidson went from being the best husband ever to being a man who wanted to kill her,” Savage said. “The culprit here is the meth that changed him,” he said. has disabled the comments for this article.
by Matt Dinger
Court Reporter
Matt Dinger was born and raised in Oklahoma City. He has worked in OPUBCO's News and Information Center since 2006, and has been assigned to the breaking news desk since its formation in fall 2008. He specializes in crime and police reporting.
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