RALEIGH, N.C. — After nearly a month of jury selection, opening arguments in the murder trial of an Apex teenager are expected to get under way Friday.
Matthew Grant, 19, is accused of first-degree murder in the February shooting death of Wake County Deputy Mark Tucker.
Attorneys said they have completed jury selection. They said it has been difficult finding jurors because of the expected length of the trial and how publicized the case has been.
Detectives said Grant was on probation at the time of the shooting that occurred in a field near Tucker's Holly Springs home and was not supposed to have a firearm. They said the teenager shot and killed Tucker when the deputy stopped to see what he was doing.
The prosecution will argue that Grant shot Tucker to avoid returning to prison.
Grant's attorneys made a motion admitting the teen shot and killed Tucker, but without premeditation, the standard for first-degree murder.
They say his actions are evidence of second-degree murder.
As attorneys try to fill the final seat on the jury, family and friends of Tucker and Grant sit in the courtroom determined to see the trial through.
"It's not going to bring Mark back. Regardless of what the outcome is, it's not going to change the fact that my husband is now dead," widow Pat Tucker said.
"We're devastated by what's happened to two families -- the Tucker family and our family," mother Gail Grant said.
Grant's lawyers are expected to argue that he did not have the mental ability to plan the killing and seek a lesser charge to avoid a possible death sentence.