A 15-year-old boy accused of killing his father last summer testified Monday that his father had abused him for years before his death.
A hearing, which will conclude Tuesday in Johnson County District Court, will determine whether Dalton Gay will be tried as an adult in connection with the death of his father. Monday’s testimony focused on allegations that the victim, Darren Gay, had physically, verbally and sexually abused his son.
N. Trey Pettlon III, Dalton’s attorney, called Dalton and other witnesses to testify to the severity of the alleged abuse.
When asked to describe his relationship with his father, Dalton described him as abusive and controlling, testifying that his father often hit him and had physically abused him in other ways, such as throwing things at him or pushing him down the stairs.
He also said his father called him names and had threatened to kill or beat him at times. From the stand, Dalton also accused his father of sexually abusing him, describing two alleged rapes and other incidents. Dalton said he hadn’t reported the alleged sexual abuse before his father’s death.
“I didn’t want anyone to know,” he said. “It was embarrassing.”
On the day of the shooting in July 2013, Dalton was scheduled to visit with his father. The custody exchange was to take place outside a Shawnee auction house, where the shooting occurred.
The boy testified that he was afraid because his father had threatened a beating if Dalton lied to him. Dalton said he had lied to his father about getting a Facebook account and a learner’s permit.
Dalton said he decided that day to bring his stepfather’s gun, not sure whether he would use it. The teen said his father raised his voice and used an expletive upon seeing him. Dalton testified that he jogged over to his father and shot him.
In his cross-examination, Assistant District Attorney Don Hymer focused on the fact that Dalton didn’t report the alleged abuse earlier and on conflicting statements about when he decided to kill his father.
Hymer questioned Dalton about instances when he had seen counselors or had the opportunity to tell authorities he was being abused but didn’t do so.
Dalton also answered questions about his interview with a detective after the shooting. The boy confirmed that the detective said multiple times that there had to be more to the story than what Dalton had reported thus far. It was not until after a break in the interview that Dalton talked about the alleged abuse.
During the cross-examination, Dalton confirmed he told police that he had been thinking about killing his father for a few days before the shooting happened.
Pettlon also called Dalton’s therapist and the boy’s mother to testify.
Therapist Gary Christ said he believed Dalton was telling the truth about the alleged abuse, and he spoke about how difficult it is for victims to report sexual abuse.
Both Pettlon and Hymer asked Christ about Dalton’s maturity level.
Dalton’s mother, Karen Lindsay, testified that she suspected Dalton was being abused and reported it. However, she was told there was too little evidence to substantiate the reports.
Pettlon also asked Lindsay about Darren Gay’s behavior when Dalton was younger, but Hymer objected because some alleged incidents happened long ago.
“I’m not sure which Mr. Gay is on trial,” Hymer said.
Pettlon will present further evidence Tuesday, and then the state will present its witnesses.