A Bay County jury took about two hours on April 21 to find a man guilty of second-degree murder for provoking a fight at a worksite and then shooting the man he challenged, State Attorney Larry Basford announced.
David Allan Donaldson, 42, was found guilty as charged of second-degree murder and aggravated assault with a firearm in the Oct. 27, 2020, death of Gordon McKinney at a Panama City construction site. Circuit Court Judge Timothy Register set sentencing for May 10.
Prosecutors Peter Overstreet and Jacob Cook proved to jurors that the defendant was culpable for the death, with evidence showing he challenged the victim to a fight and then shot him as they tussled. They told jurors that the defendant’s claims of self-defense were baseless and that he knew he had the upper hand from the beginning – with his pistol tucked into his pants.
“He shot an unarmed man after provoking a fight,” Overstreet told jurors. “Ladies and gentlemen, the simple truth is that you can’t invite someone to fight you, and then use that as a justifiable excuse to pull out a gun and kill them.”
Witnesses testified that both men were on a 23rd construction site for a business set to open the next day, and the victim was not happy with the work the defendant had performed. McKinney notified his supervisor of the issues, and the defendant engaged in “trash talking” with the victim.
The defendant was asked to leave but continued the argument, telling the victim they could take the dispute across the street to settle it. Instead, there was a confrontation by the defendant’s truck and he pulled a pistol from his waistband and shot McKinney twice, including once in the back.
“I submit the defendant is a man who bit off more than he could chew,” Overstreet told jurors. “And when he bit off more than he could chew, he had that gun and he knew who was going to win that fight.
“He shot an unarmed man after provoking a fight.”
During closing arguments, Overstreet pointed out to jurors the inconsistencies in the defendant’s claim of self-defense. He noted that despite the defendant’s claim that he was taking a beating and had to shoot to protect himself, he did not have a single scratch, scrape, bruise or red mark on his body.
As far as the defendant’s testimony, he told jurors, “You may discard it in the trash where it belongs.”
“Mr. McKinney is dead. Your verdict will not change that,” Overstreet told jurors. “But your verdict will define forever what happened that day.”
State Attorney Larry Basford took note of the Panama City Police Department’s response to the scene and the evidence that was quickly gathered, including the statement from the defendant.