Marty Stafford II

Marty Stafford II

An Athens man accused of murdering another man during a botched robbery in 2017 went on trial Monday in Limestone County Circuit Court.

Jury selection began Monday morning in the trial of Marty Gene Stafford II, of 21940 E. Bean Road. He is charged with felony murder, reckless murder and first-degree robbery in the July 25 fatal shooting of Brenton C. Gatlin, 27, of Athens. Two others who are facing the same charges in the same fatal robbery — Terry Dale Amerson and Kandes Elizabeth Lambert — will be tried later.

The three were initially charged with capital murder, but when their cases were presented to a Limestone County grand jury, jurors found cause to indict them on lesser charges.

Opening statements from the Limestone District Attorney's Office and defense attorneys Dan Totten and Michael Sizemore were expected Monday afternoon, said District Attorney Brian Jones.

Limestone County Circuit Judge Chadwick Wise is presiding over the case.

The case

Athens police responded to Lambert's home at 712 Horton St. shortly before 10 p.m. July 25. They found Gatlin inside with a gunshot wound to the head. He was taken by ambulance to Athens-Limestone Hospital, where he later died.

Athens Police Chief Floyd Johnson said at the time Gatlin was acquainted with the suspects, and police believe he was shot while being robbed.

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