State chooses to end prosecution on local 2019 reckless murder charge

Published 1:18 pm Monday, February 21, 2022

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Managing Editor

Differing statements and inconclusive evidence have led the 19th Judicial Circuit District Attorney and the state of Alabama to end prosecution in the 2019 reckless murder charge of Dallas Clint Gray.

“It is an exceptional circumstance,” C.J. Robinson, chief deputy district attorney for the 19th Judicial Circuit, said.

The formal motion for Nolle Prosequi was filed on Feb. 14, stating “The State no longer wishes to prosecute the above referenced matter at this time,” according to court records.

This motion was granted by Circuit Judge Bill Lewis on Feb. 16.

Gray had also been charged with assault second degree.

A Stand Your Ground hearing for Gray had been held in December 2021, where Paul David Chapman stated he had fired the first shot in his incident with Gray.

A Stand Your Ground hearing is typically held in a case when the person being charged was in a place they could legally be and is saying they acted in self-defense.

Robinson said this was different from a statement presented to the grand jury, which had been written from an interview with Chapman the day of the incident.

On Oct. 9, 2019, the Chilton County Sheriff’s Office had responded to a possible shooting on County Road 480, and later confirmed one female was dead. Chapman had also been taken to the hospital after being hit by a bullet.

At the time, Chapman was thought to be the owner of a dog that had been hit by a car in the area. According to a The Clanton Advertiser article at the time, Chilton County Sheriff John Shearon said the person who hit the animal had left the scene and was not involved in the incident.

Robinson said it was initially thought that forensics could determine the type of bullet that had killed the victim. Gray had a rifle, while Chapman had a pistol during the incident.

However, The Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences said the evidence was inconclusive.

According to Robinson, the grand jury had received information stating the bullet had come from Gray’s rifle.

Robinson said the District Attorney’s Office policy is that if new evidence becomes available that may have led the grand jury to a different decision, the case goes to a new grand jury.

This policy was followed in this case, and the new grand jury recommended no charges move forward.

“This grand jury heard the evidence that would have come at trial,” Robinson said.

Chapman was initially charged with shooting/ discharging a firearm into an occupied building and two counts of reckless endangerment. After the new grand jury, Chapman was charged with shooting/ discharging a firearm into an occupied building, shooting/ discharging a firearm into an unoccupied building and a certain persons forbidden to own a pistol charge.