Gavin Heath Gilbert, 17, of Hopkins County was found guilty of murder Friday shortly after 11 a.m. Gilbert is guilty of first degree murder of Tyrese Pryor, 18, of Sulphur Springs. A Hopkins County Jury reached the decision in approximately 30 minutes after closing arguments were presented. The jury will return at 1 p.m. to begin the sentencing phase of the trial. The range of punishment for first degree murder is 5 years to life.
A Hopkins County Jury reached the decision in approximately 30 minutes after closing arguments were presented.
A dispute over a buy of a small amount of marijuana led to the shooting death of Pryor and Felony 1 murder charges and four counts of Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon filed against Gilbert. Gilbert was tried only on the murder charge this week in Eighth Judicial District Court.
The sale was between Gilbert and one of five passengers in a truck on County Road 1185 just off FM 1567 in the South Liberty area of Hopkins County. Investigations and evidence collection conducted by the Texas Ranger and Hopkins County Sheriff’s investigators and deputies are nearing an end according to law enforcement.
In the allegations of those present in the truck at the scene at the time of the incident, they had traveled Sunday evening, December 17th, to the CR 1185 location to purchase a small amount of marijuana. During the alleged sale, those present said a gun was produced and the driver of the truck began to speed away. That’s when 9-mm shots were fired into the back window and cab of the pickup as it drove away. It was said that Pryor was sitting in the back seat behind the driver of the vehicle. According to those present, they were fortunate more were not hurt in the incident.
The vehicle was driven to the Hopkins Country Fire Department Station 20 at Arbala Road and Texas Street seeking help for Pryor. From there he was transported to CHRISTUS Mother Frances Hospital where he was pronounced dead by Justice of the Peace B. J. Teer. Gilbert was arrested when the Texas Ranger, DPS, and the combined Hopkins County/Sulphur Springs SWAT team served a warrant around 2 a.m. Monday morning at the Gilbert home.