A Conyers man convicted of shooting and killing his neighbor may be given a new trial if a civil jury finds he was mentally unfit at the time of his conviction.
A civil jury has been granted to Bobby Frank Gordon, 58, who was convicted of murder in August 2009, to determine if Gordon was mentally competent at the time of his trial.
Retired Superior Court Judge Sidney Nation, who had heard the original 2009 case and sentenced Gordon to life plus five years, temporarily took the bench again Tuesday to hear the new motion.
Gordon’s new attorney, Bruce Harvey, argued that Gordon’s attorney at the time had failed in his duties and that the court should have requetsted a competency evaluation, even though neither the defense nor the prosecution had requested an evaluation. Nation commented during the hearing that he did not recall any behavior out of the ordinary from Gordon that would have caused him to call for an evaluation.
If the civil jury, which will be called sometime in 2014, determines that Gordon was competent, the conviction stands; the case can still be appealed on other procedural questions. If it finds Gordon was not competent, he can be granted a new trial.
Gordon shot his unarmed neighbor Arthur Threat, 39, in the head the morning Dec. 15, 2008, after calling Threat to come outside. The two had had disagreements about Threat’s dog relieving itself in Gordon’s yard.
Gordon had also reportedly become “paranoid” about Threat and installed a video surveillance system, according to family members.