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Poker can kill........

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  • Poker can kill........

    Thursday, January 9, 2003 12:00AM EST

    DA won't seek death penalty in poker killings


    HILLSBOROUGH -- Orange-Chatham District Attorney Carl Fox said Wednesday that he will not seek the death penalty in the case of Robert "Peanut" Gattis Jr., who is accused of killing two men and wounding another while robbing a poker game March 11 near Hillsborough. "No one at the scene can identify the killer because he was wearing a mask, and there's no latent evidence at the scene that links Mr. Gattis to this crime," Fox said in Orange County Superior Court. "The evidence that does link him is circumstantial and based on sources who were not present when the crime occurred."

    The evidence, Fox said, is based upon witness testimony about things occurring subsequent to the crime.

    On March 11, eight were playing poker in a garage in northern Orange County when a masked gunman burst in and opened fire with a pistol-grip shotgun, killing two men and injuring another. The intruder ran off with about $4,000 in gambling money.

    Two hours later, Gattis showed up at a house one mile away needing to use a cell phone, Fox said in July when requesting to pursue the death penalty. Gattis told the residents not to tell anybody he had been there, then left when someone picked him up. The driver bought, then hid, a shotgun Gattis had, but turned it over to police two days later, Fox said. Three shells found at the scene of the crime matched Gattis' shotgun, he said.