RALEIGH, N.C. — Opening statements in the trial of a man accused of gunning down a Wake County deputy focused on if the suspect thought about his actions before shooting the man.
The prosecution and the defense in the first-degree murder trial of Matthew Grant did not disagree that Grant shot deputy Mark Tucker in a field in February. Grant also has admitted to killing Tucker.
But the prosecution said that Grant had time to think through his actions before firing his shotgun after Tucker told Grant to put down the gun.
"He cocks the shotgun, he looks at Mark Tucker's head and his face and he pulls the trigger," prosecutor Colin Willoughby told the jury in his opening statement.
Defense attorney Barry Winston said that Grant's past had left him unable to think clearly during the quick sequence of events when Tucker unexpectedly drove up and discovered Grant during target practice in a field.
Winston told the jury that Grant suffered from a childhood of sexual abuse and impulsivity and acted in the blink of an eye -- not having time to think.
"You will learn how much less -- at age 18 -- Matt Grant was equipped to cope with such a situation," Winston said. "In one blind instant of panic, as we have already told you, Matt Grant took the life of a much-loved husband, father, brother and law enforcement officer."
During opening statements, the prosecution also told how Grant had friends buy weapons for him even though he was on probation and not allowed to have them.
"Matthew Grant wasn't satisfied with a single-shot shotgun, he wanted another gun, a bigger gun, a more impressive gun," Willoughby said.
The prosecution called two witnesses to the stand on Friday afternoon. One was a firefighter who responded to the scene and who broke the news about Tucker's death to a 911 dispatcher who knew Tucker.
A friend of Grant's also testified. The friend said he threw away bullets for Grant and that he called CrimeStoppers to turn in Grant.
The trial is expected to last three weeks.