An Arkansas man was convicted Wednesday of murdering his mother-in-law and her parents, as well as trying to kill his brother-in-law and a former St. Francis County sheriff's deputy.

An Arkansas man was convicted Wednesday of murdering his mother-in-law and her parents, as well as trying to kill his brother-in-law and a former St. Francis County sheriff's deputy.
A Lee County jury deliberated about 5½ hours before convicting Gordon Randall Gwathney on three counts of capital murder in the 2007 slayings, one count of attempted capital murder and one count of attempted first-degree murder.
Jurors were to reconvene Thursday for the sentencing phase. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
Sylvia Reeves, 51, was killed Feb. 13, 2007, at her home on Arkansas 261, along with her parents J.O. Mitchell, 81, and Evelyn Mitchell, 79, who lived with her.
Police say Gwathney, 47, was armed with a .40 caliber pistol and a semiautomatic rifle when he went to the home where his estranged wife, Lisa Reeves, lived. Police say Gwathney tried to kill his brother-in-law, Travis Reeves, who lived next-door and came to help the family. Authorities say Gwathney also fired shots at then-St. Francis County Sheriff's Deputy Tracy Jackson.
In closing arguments, Prosecutor Fletcher Long said the slayings were premeditated.
"He leaves home in his vehicle, goes to someone else's residence with an AK-47, a .40 caliber semi-automatic pistol and more bullets than I can count right now. Goes into the house already carrying the pistol," Long told the jury. "As to Sylvia Reeves, he shot her at point-blank range, one time. Not bang, bang, bang, but bang! ... This was premeditated and deliberate."
Defense lawyer Gerald Coleman said the killings were terrible but his client was mentally deranged at the time.
"Three really good people are dead," Coleman said. "The facts indicate that Randy is not guilty by reason of mental defect or disease .... You heard in Lisa Reeves' testimony that his behavior that night was unusual and unexpected, that he was carrying on about something that makes no sense. She said she never expected this and it never crossed her mind to fear him."
Coleman reminded jurors of testimony that Gwathney, who served in the military in Somalia, showed symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.
The conviction on the attempted capital murder charge related to the shootings of Travis Reeves; the attempted first-degree murder conviction stemmed from the shots fired at the deputy.
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Information from: Times-Herald, http://www.thnews.com/