Doughten Trial Under Way
Jury selection continues with opening arguments expected later this morning in the trial of an Aberdeen man charged with involuntary manslaughter in the 2009 death of his mother.
Officers responding to a 911 call of shots fired found Douglas Mattiford Doughten holding his 72-year-old mother, Barbara Shortt Doughten, who had been shot.
The pair shared a residence at 124 Apologue Lane in Aberdeen. According to a police report, Aberdeen police responded to a 911 call of shots fired at 9:29 p.m. When they arrived at the Apologue residence, they discovered Barbara Doughten with a bullet wound under one of her arms. She died later that evening at FirstHealth Memorial Hospital.
At the time Douglas Doughten told police that he thought he heard someone breaking into the house, and he fired his 9-mm pistol. He was in his bedroom when he fired the weapon. That bullet traveled through several walls of the house, ricocheted off a television set, and finally passed through yet another wall into a bathroom where it struck his mother according to statements made in court Monday. She died later that evening at FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital.
Investigation led to a number of charges against Doughten. In addition to the involuntary manslaughter charge, police charged him with possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and discharging a firearm inside the city limits. Doughten was released on a $50,000 unsecured bond.
Doughten’s brother and sister and their spouses sat behind him at the defense table in the courtroom as trial on the manslaughter charge began Monday. Trial started with a pre-trial conference in judges chambers.
Senior Resident Superior Court Judge James M. Webb is unexpectedly holding court this week. Webb, who lives in Moore County, told jurors he would normally have been on the bench in High Point this week. The state constitution requires rotation of judges, he said, but a High Point resident judge had asked to be allowed to remain home this week — so Webb would be presiding in Moore County Superior Court himself.
Doughten’s lawyer, James R. Van Camp of Pinehurst, mentioned a number of defenses when questioning potential jurors.
“There are defenses of accident, defense of home,” Van Camp said, referring to what he called “facts” in the case before quickly saying the judge would explain the law and jurors determine the facts.
Assistant District Attorney Peter Strickland is prosecuting, and both sides had agreed on nine jurors by the time of the evening recess.
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