The case of Caruth C. Byrd v. Aubrey Mayhew -- so named for the two men fighting over the infamous "sniper's perch" long ago removed from the Texas School Book Depository -- was scheduled to go to trial last month. But as you may recall, it was delayed until April 15, as the 81-year-old Mayhew was deemed by State District Judge Gena Slaughter too elderly and infirm to keep representing himself, as he had done during the last two years. At the last minute Mayhew's son Parris retained Dallas attorney Paul Fourt, who's had only a few weeks to familiarize himself with the details of a battle that began years ago.
But, once again, this case of the window is far from closed: Over the weekend, Parris called Paul Fourt and told him that Aubrey Mayhew had died in Nashville.
"I'm numb," Fourt tells Unfair Park today. "I've never had a case where the man represented himself for two years and then had him die within three weeks of being retained. It's not your normal, run-of-the-mill sequence of events. I have to have time to mull it over in my own mind. That's a lot to throw on my plate all at once."
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Fourt says he's spoken with Byrd's attorney, Canton-based Joel Elliott, and explained to him the situation; he says Elliott was scheduled to speak with the judge about how to proceed, but Slaughter's chief clerk says the judge has been out of pocket early this week and may not be aware of Mayhew's death. (Elliott was unavailable when Unfair Park called for comment this afternoon.)
Fourt says there are several issues to consider as the attorneys and families move forward -- chief among them, Mayhew left no will. "Quite honestly, I'm at a loss as to where we go from here," Fourt says. "There's no actual representative of his estate. So we're kinda in limbo."
He says he expects to speak with Parris tomorrow or Thursday. Fourt says there are also three other children to consider. "So now there are four voices instead of one," he says, "which may cause of bit of confusion as far as the suit goes. ... I really don't know what's going to happen."
Expect updates, many updates.