DURHAM, N.C. — The trial is now under way for one of the suspects accused of murdering an 89-year-old Durham woman.
Prosecutors said nearly two and a half years ago, Lois Cannady was shot point-blank with an assault rifle by Michael Sullivan.
In court Monday, prosecutors said Cannady told sheriff's deputies earlier on the day of the shooting, five men had sprayed pepper spray in her face and stolen her car. Investigators said the men came back to her home later. Using her own gun, she fired a shot at them and then dialed 911 for help.
"By the time the 911 operator gets on the phone, you can hear the gunshot that kills her," assistant district attorney David Saacks said.
Investigators have charged five men in the case. Two of those men, Ricky Morris and Little Jerome Freeman, pleaded guilty in August to second degree murder. Both are expected to testify against Sullivan.
"Today is day one. We want to hurry up and get this behind us," said David Cannady, Lois' son. "I sit in my home where it happened. I have a lot of time reliving that night, looking at the bullet that passed through her body and is lodged in the window."
"She was taken from us prematurely because of greed, stupidity and above all else, a reckless lack of respect for human life," Saacks said.
On Monday, Sullivan's attorney decided not to give an opening statetent, but in court papers filed, he claims Sullivan was nowhere near the Cannady house that night.
He also believed some information should be kept from the jury because it could prejudice them. He does not want them to know that prosecutors believe three of the five men are known gang members, and he doesn't want jurors to know Sullivan's nickname -- Trigger.
The trial is expected to last about a week. If convicted, Sullivan will face life without parole.