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The murder and attempted murder cases against Joseph Gurley are bound over to the Grand Jury

BAY MINETTE, Ala. (WALA) – New details emerged Thursday, June 27, 2024, about what happened inside a Daphne apartment that left one man dead and another injured on Easter morning. Joseph Kaynen Gurley is charged with murder and attempted murder in the case and appeared in court Thursday for a preliminary hearing.

The hearing had been reset once before, so it was the first opportunity to hear any testimony in the case. During that testimony, Joseph Gurley’s attorney pointed out to the judge, he believes there could be a case of self-defense.

The 23-year-old suspect was taken to court in handcuffs and shackles. He has been in jail on a half-million dollar bond since his arrest three days after the shootings at the Audubon Park Apartments on County Rd. 64.

Joseph Gurley is accused of shooting two men and killing one on Easter morning during an apparent gun deal(Hal Scheurich)

Daphne Police Chief Investigator Lt. Jason Lazzari testified, describing the sequence of events told to police by witnesses who were there. It was around 2:00 a.m. on Easter morning when police said Gurley, along with murder victim J. Matthews Bonnell, Jr. and Bonnell’s girlfriend, went to a friend’s apartment in Bonnell’s apartment to look at guns on which the friend held for Bonnell. Police said the friend had not yet arrived from work, but his wife let the three wait, and that’s when things turned violent.

“From the evidence that has been gathered at this point, Mr. Bonnell was going there to check his guns and possibly transfer one of them to Mr. Gurley,” said Baldwin County Assistant District Attorney Patrick Doggett. “I don’t know their exact intentions, but that’s what has come together at this point.”

Lt. Lazzari told the court Bonnell, who is a convicted felon, and Gurley began looking at several guns and at one point each had one in his hand. He said Bonnell had argued with his girlfriend and she cut him in the face with a knife. At that point, investigators say Gurley and Bonnell got into an argument that ended with Gurley shooting Bonnell three times in the chest and upper body.

Moments later, police said the owner of the apartment appeared and Gurley shot him once in the upper body, sending him running into another building for help. Defense attorney Trey Canida says because Bonnell had a gun, his client was concerned for his own safety and the safety of the woman who came with them and shot in self-defense.

“So he thought that either the gun was going to be used on him or Ms. XXXXXXX, so he did what he had to do to protect himself is what he told the police,” said defense attorney Trey Canida.

When asked what he thought of the proceedings as he left court, Joseph Gurley had something to say.

“In the game, live after the game and in the game, I’m going to die,” Gurley told our cameras. When asked what he meant by “game,” he replied, “F_ _ _ the police!”

To Gurley’s comments, Doggett responded, “Those are statements by someone who has no regard for the law or other individuals and is consistent with his actions in this case, and that’s why we’re pursuing him now and hopefully we’ll be successful.” You don’t ever have to worry about him being on the streets again.”

Trey Canida asked the judge to lower his bail from $500,000 to $250,000. The judge denied this and bound both cases over to the Grand Jury.