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Friends Say Jailed Attorney Charged in Alleged Road-Rage Death Is ‘Gentle,’ Acted in Self-Defense

Posted Nov 15, 2011 2:39 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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An Arizona criminal defense lawyer is confined in the Maricopa County jail in lieu of $500,000 bond, charged with second-degree murder after an alleged road-rage incident in Scottsdale last week in which he is accused of killing a fellow motorist.

But friends of David Appleton, 59, call him a "most gentle" man and say he acted in self-defense after being "bullied" by Paul "Tom" Pearson, 50, the man Appleton reportedly told police he shot to death, according to KSAZ, a Fox News affiliate and Scripps Media. Its article is based on information from a local ABC News affiliate.

Court documents, however, contend that Appleton twice called police earlier this year concerning previous road-rage incidents. In one, Appleton allegedly followed a woman home to her gated community, contending that she had been driving 100 mph. In the other, dispatcher claims Appleton threatened to draw his gun on another driver after being cut off by the man.

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