The trial of a 33-year-old Palestine man accused of shooting and partially blinding an Oakwood man in January 2004 began Monday at the Anderson County Courthouse, with a nine-man, three-woman jury being seated to hear evidence in the case.

Lemarvin Dean Gross, 33, of Palestine is being tried this week in the court of 349th State District Judge Pam Foster Fletcher on charges of attempted murder and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

The jury was seated Monday morning, with opening statements and testimony beginning in the afternoon.

The state was represented Monday by Anderson County assistant district attorneys Stanley Sokolowski and Scott Holden, while Gross' defense attorney is Mark Cargill.

The state has alleged that three defendants, including Gross, participated in the shooting of Timothy Laban Owens of Oakwood on Jan. 26, 2004 in front of a local residence in the 600 block of South Fulton Street.

Gross has been identified by law enforcement as the person who fired rounds from a shotgun which struck Owens and left him partially blind, according to the state.

"On the 26th of January, 2004, Lemarvin Gross shot Timothy Owens in the chest and face," Sokolowski told the jury during opening arguments.

Sokolowski also told the jury that Timothy Owens arrived at the South Fulton Street residence on that day and "engaged in a verbal altercation with Mr. Robin Oliver" in front of the house.

At some point during the dispute, Sokolowski said Gross came around the corner of the house and "leveled a shotgun at him (Owens) and shot him" as he was attempting to leave the scene.

Several state witnesses testified Monday, including Palestine Police Sgt. Dan Mogan, who was one of the first officers on the scene.

The guilt/innocence phase of Gross' trial is expected to conclude later this week, possibly Thursday.

In August, Oliver, a 27-year-old co-defendant in the case, was found guilty of three of four charges, including aggravated assault. He, however, was found not guilty of attempted murder.

Oliver is presently considered a fugitive from the law after failing to appear for his sentencing hearing earlier this fall.

During Oliver's trial, jurors heard evidence that Owens had been involved in some type of physical confrontation with Gross in the days preceding the shooting.

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