Denison man sentenced to 45 years in prison

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GRAYSON COUNTY, TX -- A Grayson County Jury today sentenced Christopher Alan Luper, 52,of Denison to 45 years in prison for Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon. Luper was convicted after a three day trial in the 59th District Court in front of Judge Rayburn Nall.

On May 2, 2012, at 11:45 pm. Denison Police responded to a 911 call of shots fired at 84 Vaughn Drive in Denison and spoke to Christopher Luper, who said he had fired a gun at a person who he believed was trying to damage his vehicle. Luper told Officers that he had had problems with people causing damage to his vehicle, and on that night he had waited outside his home with a shotgun to confront anyone who might damage his property. Luper said after waiting some time he had seen a female, who he did not know, in his driveway, and believed this female was about to cause damage to his vehicle. Luper said he had fired his shotgun at the female, and when she fled, he had followed her down the street, shooting at her several times.

A few minutes after the initial 911 call, Denison Police received a second emergency call to the Lone Star Convenience Store at 3029 Texoma Drive. Store employees reported that a woman had entered the store with multiple wounds and after asking employees to call for help, had collapsed in the parking lot. Paramedics found 31 year old Rori Bullis of McKinney in a pool of blood with multiple wounds from shotgun pellets. Bullis was flown to Plano Medical Center for treatment. In a later statement to police, Bullis told police that she had recently ended a relationship with Christopher Luper and she had come to his house that night to return some items to him and when she approached the house, Luper had jumped out from hiding and began shooting her. Bullis described how she screamed at Luper and ran from the location, but that Luper continued to follow her down the block, even reloading the gun, before shooting her again. After Luper ran out of ammunition, she was able to get to her vehicle and drive to the convenience store and ask for help before collapsing.

At the scene of the shooting, officers found 12 broken eggs still in the carton near the driveway, and a trail of blood leading down the block. Six spent shotgun shells were found over a path stretching across three neighborhood yards.

At trial, Rory Bullis told jurors that she had met Luper on an on-line dating service several months before the shooting, and developed a romantic relationship. She testified that they had discussed marriage and that she had paid for many of Luper’s expenses and felt that they were in an exclusive relationship. Several weeks before the shooting, Bullis said she had discovered that Luper was carrying on relationships with several other women, and that Bullis had notified the other women of Luper’s infidelities.

Bullis said Luper had become enraged that she had contacted the other women, and their relationship ended. Bullis told jurors that she was aware that Luper’s car had been damaged several times over the weeks before the shooting, but denied that she had caused the damage, believing the other women in Luper’s life to be the cause of the damage.

Under questioning from Assistant Grayson County District Attorney Britton Brooks, Bullis admitted that she had gone to Luper’s house to throw eggs at his car, but maintained that she had not caused any of the other damage to his vehicle. She told jurors she had lied initially about why she had gone to the house because she was embarrassed and scared she would get in trouble. She told jurors that after the initial shots she had screamed and told Luper “Chris, stop the madness!”, but that Luper continued to chase her and shoot her.

Jurors heard from Dr. James Frame, an emergency room physician at Plano Medical Center, who testified that Bullis received more than 200 wounds from shotgun pellets. Her femoral artery was damaged, and her wounds were life threatening.

Luper did not testify at the guilt portion of his trial.

“This was a difficult case,” said Brooks, who prosecuted the case along with Assistant District Attorney Bi Hunt. “Obviously, a person has a right to protect their property, and with all of the recent attention on stand-your-ground laws and the rights of self-defense, the case had some real issues for the jury to work through. However, this man went way too far. The law says your use of force must be reasonable for the circumstances, and chasing a woman down the block and repeatedly shooting her with a shotgun while she is screaming for you to stop is not reasonable.”

After the jury convicted Luper of the crime, Brooks introduced evidence that Luper had pled guilty in 2006 to another charge of Aggravated Assault when he was charged with shooting a tow truck driver who was in the process of repossessing his vehicle.

“We have tough juries in Grayson County,” said Grayson County District Attorney Joe Brown. “I think with the violent nature of this crime, the serious injuries that this lady had, and the fact that Luper had shot someone before, the jury just wanted to send a message.”

Luper was represented by Sherman attorney Tim Haney. Luper will be eligible for parole after 22 ½ years.