[UPDATE] South Georgia Man Sentenced For Nephew's Murder

By: Donnitra Gilbert Email
By: Donnitra Gilbert Email

The accused and now sentenced Byron Griner will spend 10 years behind bars for the shooting death of his nephew ... 39-year-old John Mark Morris back in April of last year.

"This has definitely been a year of unspeakable grief and pain," said victim's sister-in-law Linda Morris.

The D.A. said Byron Griner pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter, but was deemed mentally ill last month. Griner told deputies he shot Morris in self defense, but the D.A. said after reconstructing the scene, Griner's story didn't add up.

"The rifle that Mark had was unloaded and had never been fired. The 45 caliber pistol had been fired three times," said District Attorney Jim Prime.

The Defense said doctors indicated that Griner was taking xanax and hydrocodone ... he said the drugs took control over Griner's emotions.

Several friends and family members spoke on Griner's behalf before his sentencing including his daughter ... who asked for mercy.

"He's a good man there's no question in my mind that there were circumstances that provoked this man beyond his normal condition," said Griner's neighbor Logan Lewis.

Griner also asked for everyone's forgiveness and apologized specifically to his sister Francis and his nephew Kyle.

Now the victim's family says it can press forward knowing that justice has been served.

"No sentence that's rendered can bring Mark back but we do feel that he was held accountable for the crime that was committed," said Morris.

WCTV did reach out to Griner's immediate family who denied to comment.

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Griner has been sentenced to 10 years.

Byron Griner entered a guilty plea to voluntary manslaughter on April 7.

Griner is charged with the shooting death of his nephew John "Mark" Morris on April 1st of last year. 2010.

Griner says he shot Morris in self defense, but the D.A. says after reconstructing the scene, Griner's story didn't add up.

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UPDATE 3-1-2011 4:40pm

The D.A. said Byron Griner pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter, but mentally ill Monday.

Griner is charged with the shooting death of his nephew John "Mark" Morris on April 1, 2010.

The D.A. said mental evaluations have been completed, but the results have not been released.

Reports show that Griner said he shot Morris in self defense, but the D.A. said after reconstructing the scene, Griner's story didn't add up. T

The Family of the victim and the suspect said it's been a challenge pressing forward.

"It's mixed emotions of course you enter into a plea when you think you're going to be found guilty and I'm glad he's coming to terms with what he's done," said the Victim's cousin Cherie Morris.

Griner will be sentenced April 12th. 2011 The D.A. said he could face up to 20 years in prison.

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A south Georgia man accused of murdering his nephew has been indicted.

A Thomas County grand jury indicted 72-year-old Byron Griner in the April murder of his 39-year-old nephew John Mark Morris.

Griner is indicted on charges of felony murder, malice murder, aggravated assault, voluntary manslaughter and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.

Investigators say Griner shot and killed Morris April 1st behind Morris's home on Stewart Road.


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