By Ray Stern
By New Times
By Amy Silverman
By Stephen Lemons
By Stephen Lemons
By Monica Alonzo
By Chris Parker
By New Times
No witnesses saw the gruesome end of a road-rage clash between Scottsdale lawyer David Appleton and ex-rodeo cowboy Paul "Tom" Pearson in the dark parking lot of a CVS Pharmacy on the evening of November 10, 2011.
As Appleton tells it, speaking publicly for the first time about the incident, the "moment of truth" came as he flailed against the seat belt of his blue Toyota FJ Cruiser, his neck firmly in the grasp of the bigger man reaching through the driver's-side window with his left hand.
"He used an expert chokehold," says Appleton, now 61. "He had big hands, and I'm a little guy . . . His middle finger was on my right carotid [artery], and his thumb was on my left carotid."
The lawyer says he tried to peel the viselike grip off his neck with one hand, breaking off part of the fingernail of his pinky. It was the only injury he suffered in the fight with Pearson, a 50-year-old family man with a wife and three daughters who was co-owner of a Phoenix auto-parts store.
At that fateful moment, each man had his other hand occupied.
Through the whole exchange, Pearson held his phone, his cousin in Wyoming listening on the other end.
Just below the Toyota's window, Appleton gripped his five-shot double-action .38-caliber Smith & Wesson "Chief" revolver. He'd taken it from the glove box as the two exchanged words on Pima Road in North Scottsdale. Then, before Pearson stormed up to the Cruiser's window, Appleton says, he "transferred" the gun from his right to left hand and kept it "hidden" from Pearson's view.
"When he first ran up and started abusing me, he said, 'You don't have a gun, do you?' I didn't say anything. You never reveal you've got a gun." That's what he was taught in a firearms class he'd taken years ago.
The incident began after a routine day in the life of the 36-year defense attorney. He visited a client in jail. Went to court. Met some friends at Sweet Tomatoes for dinner, where he consumed no alcoholic beverages. Driving north on Pima Road on his way home, he says, Pearson, in his silver Honda Ridgeline, cut him off and taunted him at a stoplight. They exchanged obscenities.
It's unclear why the two men became so angry at each other. But a touch of road rage was nothing unusual for Appleton, who'd called 911 on two separate occasions earlier that year to report altercations with other drivers. Still, there's no doubt that Pearson played a role in what happened next.
When the light turned green, Pearson began tailgating Appleton and followed him for more than two miles, the attorney says.
Pearson lived in the Los Gatos subdivision off Pima Road and was on his way home from work at the auto-parts store. As they continued north, the two road-ragers passed the light for the Los Gatos turnoff. It's clear that the former professional rodeo rider simply could've turned left at that light and gone home. But he tailed Appleton up the road a little farther to the CVS, where Appleton turned in.
The two vehicles stopped, and Pearson got out of his Honda and approached Appleton's Toyota. He grabbed the lawyer's wrist, but Appleton says he was able to break free. Then, according to the lawyer, Pearson used the clamp-hold on his neck.
Appleton says he realized the time had come to act — or die.
"I'm getting lightheaded. I'm starting to lose consciousness," Appleton says. "And so I displayed the gun."
He raised his weapon. Pearson, he says, only "squeezed harder."
He says Pearson told him in a strangely even voice, "Don't shoot me with that gun." He says Pearson still was holding his neck.
The lawyer, a self-described marksman, says he aimed for what he thought was a non-fatal shot to his attacker's abdomen. But the bullet he fired severed Pearson's spine.
Pearson didn't let go immediately, Appleton says, causing him to wonder for a brief moment whether he'd need to fire again. Then, Pearson staggered backward and collapsed to the ground. Seconds later, the lawyer called 911 to report that he'd shot a man. A few minutes after that, police had Appleton on his knees at gunpoint.
Except for details like the 911 call, most of this information comes from just one source — Appleton. Pearson's cousin in Wyoming heard yelling and heard Pearson say, "Don't shoot me with that gun," but not much else. The pharmacy didn't have security cameras outside. Pearson was alive but unresponsive when help arrived minutes later. He was rushed to Scottsdale Healthcare Thompson Peak Hospital, where he was pronounced dead just after 8 p.m.
Some evidence of a struggle was found, a Scottsdale police report shows:
The broken nail on Appleton's little finger. A few popped buttons on his shirt, two of which still were in the Toyota (Appleton says a third fell outside when he opened the door after the shooting). Blood and gunshot residue were discovered on the Toyota's window frame, and the driver's-side door mirror was pushed inward and marked with a faint imprint of the fabric of Pearson's shirt.
I feel if a story is gonna be told that the story should be told the truth , not get a story then add or take away or lie about it ,or word it the way it sounds better to them. Wow ! Not even tryin to make a point that an innocent man ,a good ,caring man was shot and killed by don for no reason, and looks like he's getting away with murder not only the fact that he murdered a man, but held a gun threathened to shoot the girlfriend if she didn't turn the car off ,when only she wanted to take him to the hospital "TO SAVE HIS LIVE" why wasn't that mentioned ? There was no reason for Daniel Morales to have his life taken , an altercation ,yes which was started by an evil minded monster Don Purse Jr. he stopped us from leaving quietly and blocked us off Daniel put the car in park got out walked over to where Don was sitting with his truck door opened with his mirror running ,at that , they were struggling with the gun as I got out of the car passed the driver door that daniel left open I seen daniel left elbow hit sons right hand that he held the gun ,on shot fired missed Danny I crossed tried to scream please don't shoot him , but I couldn't no mattered how hard I tried to say it when I saw don bring the gun put it to Danny stomach Don Purse Jr. Shot and killed Danny . The truth there it is ..why hasn't any charges been brought against let alone not even incarcerated ?
So, where's the justification to believe, that, a lieyer, who lies, cheats and steals, for a "pro-fession," is, telling the truth; especially, given his track record, of, previous, roadrages...??? I do notice, the comments, about believing the lieyer, have, dried up, but, I'll bet, the DA, will still, aid and abet the, ,roadrager. Maybe, with lieyers, spinning their tales, they can just, shoot anybody, who disagrees with them. Then we won't need courts, and, juries, and, of course; brain dead judges.. . After all, then, we'll only need the lieyers' word, for, population control. Also, where's the picture of the lieyer ??? So, what are you, men, or, mice; squeek up..???... Edgar...
My message, is long and, rambling, as, adjudicated, by another, third grade, Nobel laureate, of course, without explanation, as to, what, non basis, such, judgement, has, not, been, long and rambling enough, to, explain... Edgrrr...
*** Gun Coward Shoots Teenage Girl Seeking Help ***
DEARBORN HEIGHTS, Mich. -- It was shortly before 1 a.m. Nov. 2 and Renisha McBride was involved in an accident with a parked vehicle in Detroit.
More than two hours later and six blocks away, she was shot in the face by a man who told police he thought someone was breaking into his Dearborn Heights home. The 54-year-old homeowner, according to police, said his 12-gauge shotgun discharged accidentally.
The legality of "loaded" guns, combined with the screwy burden of proof provisions seen to be why this goes over the edge. It's a recipe for carnage, given the attitudes and emotional state of most of the people on the roads these days. If it's illegal to have the gun in your car loaded, it will cut down on this. People will still do it, but it will discourage much of it. When there's no time to load the firearm, fewer of these confrontations will end in death for one of the combatants.
loaded firearms in vehicles was strict prohibited when I lived in Wyoming, almost a more ardent gun culture than ours. (It may be legal now, I have no Idea.) Almost all of the folks I knew were armed, but frowned on this almost as much as they frowned on firing across a deserted highway, which, surprisingly, was held in great contempt.
The instant you stick your hand into the car of another person, you have violated the personal space of that person. It is no different than a home invasion. Pearson committed suicide.
And, if, it was not the intent of the lieyer, to play, judge and, jury, he would have had a Smith and Wesson sticker on his car window, and, had the window, rolled up... and, waved his gun, around, to show, that, HE COULD DEFEND HIMSELF, SO, IF, BEING A LIEYER, ABOVE THE LAW, WAS NOT, HIS INTENT, THEN, WHY DID HE CONTINUE, GOADING THE GUY, IF NOT, BECAUSE OF HIS OBVIOUS, INTENT; AS IN, THE FACTS, SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES; PROOF OF WHICH, COULD BE DETERMINED, AT LEAST AS TO INTENT TO COVER UP, LIEYER, CULPABILITY... AND, THAT, REQUIRES NO PSYCHIC, REMOTE VIEWING. DNA, SHOULD, PROVE, WHO, BROKE A FINGERNAIL, AND, WHO, TORE AT THE SHIRT; TO, IN MY ESTIMATE, BASED UPON THE LIZARDS AT LAW, CLUB, COVERING FOR, ONE OF THEIR CHAMELEONS, show, that, if, the lieyer, staged his own defense, by breaking his own nail, and, tore at his own shirt; that, of, his intent, by his own, coverup, as to his motive, or, not... No investigation, when techniqwues, exist, tacitly proves, that the lieyers, are above the law, and, the hell with us; to which, I take serious exception; for, I believe we should kill, all the lieyers; and, in any such soap operas, automatically, deem the lieyer, to be the criminal; who, just like us, is, guilty, until, proven, otherwise... AND, AS TO THE SNIDE REMARK, THAT i MUST THINK, i'M PSYCHIC; HARDLY, WITH MORE THAN ENOUGH FACTS TO WARRANT, AN INVESTIGATION; go ahead, and, add up the answers, opf the "psychics." I say, the lieyer, deliberately goaded the man, with, intent, to do, what, got done, and, that, homicidal, moron, is, no posterchild, for, our, Second Amendment... and, should be tried, in a court of law, if, such a court, can be found... Edgrrr...
I think the bottom line here is that had a gun not been involved there might have been a fistfight but chances are nobody would have died. We know by his record that Appleton was prone to road rage. He might have been a little meeker, a little less aggressive behind the wheel had he not been armed. He might not have pulled over and everyone gets home for dinner. Road rage is a bad idea but it's a constant in todays frazzled America. In a car we're semi anonymous, which leads to an inflated sense of power and ego in some of us. But you never know who you're dealing with when you flip someone the bird. I'm not suggesting victimhood here, just common sense.
The years are taking a toll on my memory, but I think I might've shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die.
Here in Florida, you reach into an occupied vehicle and assault the driver/occupant you commit a felony assault, which at least here is defendable by the use of deadly force...CASE CLOSED!
At least get your facts straight about Trayvon Martin. It was not Arizona ice tea, it was Arizona watermelon juice drink & Skittles, which when combined with cough syrup make a ghetto drug concoction known as DXM. As for Trayvon's attack on Zimmerman, the testimony on the stand by his friend Rachael Jeantel, who was on the phone with him at the time, tells us all we need to know. She told him to go inside his dad's place he was standing outside of, but he doubled back because he believed he was going to jump from behind & attack an unarmed gay man, AKA "creepy asscracker". You know that an asscracker is a gay man, don't you?
@_McShyster_ Nervous folks should not have hair trigger, guns. The hair and, trigger, belongs on and in your head... Edgrrr...
@_McShyster_ Why did she leave the scene twice after people called 911? What was she doing for 2 hours after the accident?
@drdarrow All homes and cars should have, decals, that, the owners, belong to the "Russian Roulette, Club," so that, deathwishers, picking fights, can guess, which house, or, car, carries the bullet, with their name on it... That should, knock off the roadragers... Edgrrr... Hard to believe that, gunshops, are not, selling such, placards... and, decals... Great, advertising... Walther, PPKS Club...
@drdarrow Thanks for writing. I decided to look up the info about Wyoming: It appears that Wyoming now has the same concealed-carry law as Arizona, meaning basically any law-abiding adult can carry a loaded handgun concealed (including in a vehicle). http://www.wyomingnews.com/articles/2011/06/29/news/19local_06-29-11.txt
There are hundreds of thousands of responsible gun owners driving with loaded guns every day. There are a few crazy people who shoot people for no reason, and they are almost entirely from that same group that would ignore the law, but there are statistically MORE people who avoid becoming victims because they have the legal means to protect themselves. The police cannot, and legally have no responsibility to, protect you from violent criminals. They take the report and try to catch the bad guy so he won't do it again.
We know nothing, and, are expected to take a lieyers' word, for, it ??? What turnip truck did you, fall, out of ??? There's no way, the killer, would get free, of a wrist hold, by, a rodeo, rider. Have you seen them, hang onto the reins, with, just one, hand, atop a bucking, 2,000 pound, bull ??? And, you believe, the lieyers' alibi; considering, his subliminal confession, as to how big, the hand was, that, spanned his neck, allegedly; another, lie, as evidenced, by, the cop, who stated, there were, no marks, on the lieyers' neck... what, about, marks, on his wrists, from the steel grip, of a rodeo rider...??? Then, there's your flaky D.A. who conceals, exculpatory evidence, as well as, damning, evidence, to, get to preconcieved, results; laundering, lieyers' above the law, criminalities... and, ditto, brain dead judges, without, whose, complicities, laws, would not be twisted, and, juries, wouldn't be stacked, to, arrive at prejudicial, conclusions... slam dunks, even, before, any trials... Who needs a court of law, when lieyers, can, investigate, themselves...??? Edgrrr...
@olsonandko Eating too many turnips ??? personal space, did not exist, with an invitational, open window, and, a goading, lieyer, salivating, over, getting to murder, someone, in cold blood; after, setting up the soap opera, in the first place; as proven, by the fact, that, the deceased, could, have turned off, ... Surely, others, who've been goaded, by that lieyer, have come forward, with, their, experiences, with the killer, but, of course, there'll be no guarantee, that organized crime at law, wouldn't conceal, that... Edgrrr... And, how, would the deceased, grab the guys wrist, unless, the arm was extended, and, not, in his lap ??? Edgrrr...
@McShyster at least we stand a chance against a determined criminal.
@edgarlongenecker you completely ruined the comments section of this tripe of an article. You obviously don't make a living doing something that requires minimally competent reading or composition skills.
@edgarlongenecker I don't think you have enough commas in your post. Why don't you add a few more for good measure? lmao
@MGM5 No,,,, if ,,, there had not been a gun involved, pencilneck, wouldn't, have incited the guy to, riot... in the first place... Why, has the victims picture been posted, whi;le, the lieyers' picture, has been conceal;ed; guilty conscience; as if, lieyers, have a conscience...??? Edgrrr... Too bad, the thought police, let lieyers, carry guns,
@tom_stratford If, in point of fact, the guy, actually, did, what, youse guys, accept, as, gospel, coming from a lieyer, no less, and, of, course, that returns, this soapopera, back, to, the need for a, competent, investigation, as, I, previously, stated; especially, considering, thsat, as the cop, noted, there was no, neck marks, to, verify, the lieyers' story... No mention, of course, ditto, on the mans' wrist, and, DNA results, on, the socalled, grabbed, and, pulled, shirt, and, of course, the guys,' DNA, on the fingernail, and, where, the fingernail, gouged the guy, hard, enough, to, break off, the nail,,, and, draw, the guys' blood; or,,, not...... Competent, forensics, should, piece together, this, cold blooded, murder,,,, in,,,, Arizona... Edgrrr... Now, whine about, punkchewation.... to, evade, the, facts; concealed, by, the bar association, laundry, of/for, lizards at law; above the law....
@tom_stratford Negative.... Force, with, equal, force... which, had the lieyer, waved his gun to show, that, he had intent to goad the guy, and, was ready to do, mayhem, then, of course, the guy, would have backed off, or, brandished his own gun, if, he had one; and, while that wouldn't have been, all that, socially desirable, it, would have been an equal match; not, a cold blooded, lieyer, execution; as evidenced, by the concealmentv of the gun, until, preconceived, parameters, were, set up, by the lieyer, who, did what he did, because, he, orchestrated, all of it, and, had a gun, with which to get hiis sleazy ass, out of the sling, he set up for his victim; whom, he killed, in cold blood; when, with force, meeting force; without, his attitude, he could have fired, if need be, into the offending arm, instead of a center body, intent to kill, shot... About twenty years, in the joint, will be, appropriate, considering, he'd probably, only have to do, a month or, two, before, the guys, paroled, him......... Edgar...
@speedbaser I appreciate your comments, and it's true that I erred by saying it was "iced tea." It turns out that my mistake on that touched one of the third rails in the Trayvon case. This morning we published a blog post that covers the mistake and how at least one firearms activist views the news media's coverage of that case: http://blogs.phoenixnewtimes.com/valleyfever/2013/11/_the_active_thc_was.php
@speedbaser Come on; who cares, if, it was panther piss, he was drinking, when jumped, and, the buttwrenching, analysis, are, a lame excuse, for, goading, with, intent to kill, and, contradicts, any danger, to Zimmerman;... The truth be known that, govern mentals, "letting," murder, in our streets, is for the greater, bad, of, outlawing, the Second Amendment... upon which, all rights, will, fall... Edgrrr...
FYI, I have to stop reading your rants as soon as I come to the invented word "lieyer", which you seem to include near the beginning of each message. If you want to communicate, learn to spell at a 3rd grade level.
@sonick55 = lives in perpetual fear
@marmy @edgarlongenecker Smarmy, "tripe of an article," you claim, plus, contradictorially, enough, I've ruined, so, what, are you whining, about ??? If, it's tripe, why shouldn't it be ruined ? And, since your evasion, is, tripe, it's great that this site, prints, comments, like mine, to, see to it that, evasions, regarding, lieyer, doublespeak, doesn't erode, due process, by, convoluting, the English language, to make lizards at law, appear credible, with, such limited, and, minimally, competent reading, or, composition, skills; as such; your, confession, of, lieyer, antics at law... Hereafter, try not to define, anything, by lieyer, doubletalk; that, only, shows, your, ignorance, and, contempt, for, the rule of, law... which, apply to, lieyers, trying to get away, with, murder,; evaded, because, the likes of you, pander to lizards at law, unconcerned, that a real person, just got, executed, and, boot lickers, like yourself, opt, to, negate the facts, yet, to be, determined, by, adequate, forensics, therefore, it is your delusion that this site, is, tripe,as, this, site, even lets' people like you, sit, in, judgement.... and, smarmy comments, like yours, do not change the facts; which, we, only, have, a lizard at laws' word, for; and, of, course those who haven't yet, learned that lieyers, lie, for a living; duping, the likes, of, those, smarmy guys... as proven, when, their lips are moving... Edgrrr...
The case got more complicated once more facts came out that were related to why TM wasn't in jail.
Then there was the attempted frame up of GZ by prosecutor Angela Corey, trying to destroy evidence that would have resulted in the trial never happening. At least the whistle blower had the morals to report her, & the grand jury had enough sense to indict her.
@valleynative @edgarlongenecker And, you are so compelled, because the automatic pilot, in your head, doesn't like, my freedom of speech, and, you, being such a prejudicial, blueblood, can't lower your sleazy self, to, stay on point, regarding the cold blooded murder, whose duisposition, I, find fault with, and, you're too regal, to lower yourself, to, address; as, opposed to, whining, about, being, so compelled to stop reading....because, you don't like, my interpretation of, lizards at law; as in, lieyers...??? Good for you, you really should get your sleazy ass, off, of it, and, go get a job.... and, fyi, all, words, are, invented; especially, all those, defining, pinheads, not, unlike yourself.. When you get past your third grade, maybe, a lieyer, execution, in our streets, will be of some concern, and, be more important, than, your opinion... Edgrrr... If, you stop reading my rants, when you read, lieyer, which, I include, near the beginning, of each, message, how, then, do you identify, the message as a rant ? You must be another, "society," blueblood, inbred, misfit, to, be, so privileged, that, you can pass on any writing, after, admitting that, you "have to," stop reading it... whut's yer name; Peeloosely....??? Grrr...
mmmm, not so much really. I can see how it would seem so. Just like anything you are well familiar with, it's like putting your wallet in your pocket or your watch on your wrist. Sure, it comes with special safety rules, but those become reflexive as well. I live from the heart, i escaped anxiety and ego long ago :)
@olsonandko @edgarlongenecker @tom_stratford The lieyer, knew that, if, it's so, and, goaded the guy, with, intent to kill; as you claim; within, the law... while.... concealing, his gun, until, he excercised, the idea, that, there's no equal force, requirement...in, Arizona.... Don't pat, anybody, on the shoulder, in Arizona, or, try to defend yourself, in Arizona.... He could have shot him in the arm, leg, or, shoulder, or, instead, of , that, just, brandished, a weapon; that is, if, he didn't have intent to goad the guy, so, he could commit, murder, and, according to your explanation; get away with, it... The facts, speak for themselves... from, the results, back down, to, the intent.... Fry the lieyer, for his, knowledge of, the law; there, in, Arizona.... while, Arizona, is trying to murder, Jodi Arias, for, allegedly. defending, herself; making, for sure, no equal protection, under the law, in, Arizona... And, if, the lieyer, had, no such, intent, after goading the guy, why, did, he, lead him, to, wherever [his own house], and, stop, with, his window, down; inviting, an enraged, person, he was guilty, of, programming, if, he had, no, such, intent... so, as, to, commit, murder... ??? Knowledge, of, the law, is, no, excuse....anymore, than, ignorance,of, the law, is... According to, your, observation, those who know, the law, can, commit, murder... in... Arizona.... Tell that to the dead mans' family, and, friends, just before, the, lieyer, gets, a pat on the bac\k... Edgrrr...