- The Washington Times - Monday, April 22, 2002

DALLAS A Dallas civil jury has decided that an East Texas man killed his father with a shotgun blast four years ago, and now state prosecutors say they will examine evidence from the unusual case possibly to seek criminal charges.
After almost three weeks of testimony, the jury took only five hours Friday to come back with the verdict and an award of $26 million.
The defendant, Charles "Chuck" Mayhew, left the courtroom grim-faced and would not speak to reporters. His lawyer, Bill Hommel, said his client was "pretty tore up" by the verdict.
The jury heard many witnesses testify to a plethora of instances wherein Mr. Mayhew had threatened and berated his father. In his own testimony, he admitted he had threatened to kill Charles Mayhew Sr. "at least a thousand times."
The elder Mr. Mayhew, 81, was found shot in his bed March 1, 1998, in suburban Sunnyvale, a few miles east of Dallas.
Nothing had been taken from the home, there was no sign of entry and the victim and his son had just that afternoon had another of their obscenity-ridden shouting matches.
The defendant was considered a suspect and was questioned by police three times at length, but detectives were told by the District Attorney's Office that they didn't have evidence enough to win conviction so the case was never presented to a grand jury.
The case, rare because most such wrongful death suits are brought after criminal prosecution (as in the O.J. Simpson case), was filed by Mr. Mayhew's sister, Austin socialite Amanda Mayhew Dealey.
"It's a relief to have it over," Mrs. Dealey said. She said she felt the verdict would give her "closure."
On the stand, questioned by Mr. Hommel for the defendant, Mrs. Dealey said her reason for suing was "for Chuck to take responsibility for what he did. I think Daddy would have wanted that."
The defendant, now 49, had been a pampered child of a doting father who taught him to hunt and fish and bought him everything imaginable. He became one of the nation's best skeet shooters and shot for the United States in the Pan American Games.
Last week he testified that things were going fine until he enrolled in college.
"That first day, the world changed," he said. "Alcohol, blue jays, smoking. I'd never seen anything like that, ever."
After college, he went into stock market options trading and dabbling in real estate. Soon, witnesses testified, he was a mean-spirited alcoholic who married several times, fought at the drop of a hat and never held a full-time job.
Testimony showed that the son was within miles of his father's ranch the night of the murder, had argued with him bitterly that day and had made somewhat conflicting statements about his whereabouts.
The Dallas County sheriff's office vowed to study the civil trial evidence.

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