By CHRISTIN COYNE
The Second Court of Appeals last week upheld the conviction of a man found guilty of running his estranged wife off the road in Parker County and shooting her in the legs as she fled him.
David “Danny” Daniel Duff Jr., 43, was found guilty in June 2011 of three charges of aggravated assault. A Parker County jury gave him concurrent 60-, 20- and 10-year sentences.
More than seven months after the incident, the victim, Samantha Duff, limped to the stand during the trial and told jurors that Danny Duff had threatened to kill her if she left him and that she attempted to hide at her cousin’s Springtown-area home after moving out while in fear for her life.
After he was served divorce papers the morning of Nov. 3, 2010, Duff used his vehicle to ram a vehicle with Samantha Duff and her cousin inside into a pipe fence near the cousin’s home, according to testimony.
As she got out of the damaged car, her husband shot her in the leg with a handgun, Samantha Duff told jurors, adding that as she continued to try to run, he shot her in the other leg and she fell.
During a 911 tape played for jurors, Danny Duff could be heard telling his wife “It’s all your fault.”
He reportedly held a gun to her head as she begged for her life while bleeding on the ground.
Duff also pointed the gun at the cousin’s husband, who arrived at the scene with a gun after the shooting and attempted to talk him out of shooting Samantha Duff, as well as a passerby who stopped to help, according to testimony.
At the time of the trial, Duff told jurors she still had severe pain in one knee and couldn’t run. Her cousin was also injured during the wreck.
“This case was the worst nightmare of every person who files for divorce,” said Assistant District Attorney Jeff Swain, who tried the case with Assistant District Attorney Kathleen Catania. “The appellate court’s ruling will allow the peace of mind that the victims got from the jury’s verdict to continue into the future.”
The appeals court affirmed the convictions and sentences.
The court also denied requests for a new trial for an alleged improper comment by an assistant district attorney during closing arguments and for a claim that a witness improperly referred to his incarceration before trial.
Duff could still appeal to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, according to Assistant District Attorney Eddy Lewallen, who handled the case on appeal for the prosecution.
“I am doubtful that our state’s highest criminal appeals court will choose to hear Mr. Duff’s case because it really does not present any new legal issues or unusual fact situations,” Lewallen said.
Duff is not expected to become eligible for parole until 2040.