News Release – April 3, 2018
A federal jury in Lubbock on Wednesday afternoon returned a not guilty verdict in favor of Royce Duane Donaldson, a man charged with felon in possession of a firearm, according to Mr. Royce’s defense attorney, Jacob Blizzard. Mr. Donaldson was arrested and charged with murder in Shackelford County, Texas related to the shooting death of George Mark occurring on June 18, 2018. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas pressed charges related to the possession of a firearm from that same date and incident. Donaldson faced up to 10 years if convicted of the firearm charge.
The Texas Rangers along with the Shackelford County Sheriff’s Office investigated the case. According to Mr. Blizzard, at trial it was made clear to the jury that George Mark was a violent man who quickly entered a residence of one of Donaldson’s friends without permission while Donaldson was inside and grabbed a butcher knife to attempt to stab Donaldson. It was then that Donaldson shot Mark with a revolver-type handgun that Mark had previously left in storage in Donaldson’s garage.
Evidence was also elicited at trial that Mark continually threatened violence against Donaldson for a period of weeks leading up to the attack. Mark also admitted to one witness, Cindy Carroll that he had previously burned Donaldson’s house down.
Exhibits offered by the defense at trial showed Donaldson contacted the sheriff’s office on multiple occasions for protection from Mark before resorting to carrying a gun just days before Mark’s attack.
Mr. Blizzard stated “I am very happy with the results of the trial as Mr. Donaldson was the victim here. I am hopeful to have a conversation very soon with Mr. Boaz about dismissing the murder case since we now know that George Mark was the aggressor and Mr. Donaldson acted only out of self-defense.”
According to the jury instructions from the District Court, Donaldson relied upon the defense of necessity. For the defense of necessity, Donaldson had the burden of proving that he was in imminent danger, he did not negligently place himself in the situation, he had no reasonable legal alternative, and that a reasonable person would have believed possession of the firearm prevented the harm. “For a murder charge, the State must disprove self-defense, and the jury actually found that we proved self-defense at trial, making a conviction of Mr. Donaldson impossible.” Mr. Blizzard stated.
Mr. Blizzard may also be remembered as the lead attorney who successfully defended Damian Cate in Taylor County for the charge of Capital Murder of his infant child in a trial in April of 2018. Mr. Cate was found not guilty of both Capital Murder and Tampering with Physical Evidence.
The murder charge against Donaldson remains pending in Shackelford County with a trial date of September 23, 2019.
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About The Attorney
Jacob Blizzard is board certified in both criminal law and criminal appellate law.
He regularly practices in the areas of state and federal criminal defense, criminal appeals, post conviction writs of habeas corpus.
In Texas, there are more than 100,000 attorneys licensed to practice, but only 7,450 are board certified.
In the entire State of Texas, as of the 2019 certification year, there were only 87 attorneys board certified in both criminal law and criminal appellate law, making Mr. Blizzard one of 0.087% of attorneys in Texas to hold both of those certifications.
Attorney Jacob Blizzard works tirelessly to achieve the greatest possible results for each of our clients and their families. This is one of his successful results, settlements, and verdicts. Every case and client is unique and depends upon the individual facts and circumstances of each case. Clients may or may not obtain the same or similar results in each case.