The lawyer for a man charged with fatally shooting his son says his client is devastated.
Earnest Gurley faced a judge Friday afternoon for the first time since police say he shot his 20-year-old son, Ben, in the chest inside his Myers Park home.
Police said Ben Gurley, who family members confirmed was adopted at birth, died in the front yard.
Earnest Gurley, who appeared visibly shaken and somewhat disoriented inside the courtroom, is distraught, his defense attorney said.
"I just hope everybody's thoughts are with the family right now. It's a terrible situation," said Casey Viser of the Charlotte law firm James, McElroy, and Diehl.
Viser would not comment on particulars in the case, including the 911 call Gurley made after the shooting, in which, police say, he admitted to police he shot his son.
Family members showed their support Friday in court, along with Gurley's current girlfriend, who said Gurley was a "great dad," and said that his son had struggled with drugs in the past, but had sought treatment.
Earnest Gurley has also had struggles in his past. Court documents show he was convicted of DWI in November 2004.
Gurley was also charged with assault on a woman, and in December 2004, the victim filed a restraining order at the Mecklenburg County courthouse. In a written statement, she claimed Gurley had punched her, attempted to strangle her and threatened to kill her.
However, when the woman did not show up for a court appearance, prosecutors dismissed the charges.
Gurley's next court appearance will be for a bail hearing on June 27.