RALEIGH, N.C. — In an effort to paint the suspect in the fatal shooting of a deputy as having a rough childhood, the defense called Matthew Grant's biological mother to testify Friday.
Defense attorneys are trying to show the jury in the first-degree murder trial that Grant suffered years of abuse -- some even before he was born. The trial is focusing on whether Grant had the ability to think in advance -- even if only briefly -- before he shot and killed Wake County Deputy Mark Tucker.
The defense is arguing that Grant's troubled upbringing left him incapable of making quick decisions. The prosecution has argued that Grant had time and did think before shooting Tucker in the face with a shotgun he illegally purchased.
Tamra Brown, the biological mother of Grant, told jurors that when she was pregnant with Grant she wanted to have an abortion but couldn't afford it. She eventually agreed to have Grant's paternal grandparents adopt Grant, but not before Grant was subjected to a childhood of drugs and abuse.
"I was drinking a lot," Brown said. "I was using drugs. I was trying to raise my daughter by myself and it was stressful."
Brown testified she lost contact with Grant about 10 years ago. She maintained her composure on the stand, but broke down afterward when a friend testified about bad treatment Grant suffered in Brown's care.
Brown also told the jury her drug and alcohol abuse is the reason her son moved to California to live with his father at one point.
Evidence presented by the defense in court Friday suggested Grant was physically abused while living there and might have been sexually abused by a babysitter.
Grant, 19, of Apex, is accused of killing Tucker, 49, in February in a field across from Tucker's home on Holly Springs Road.
Grant has already admitted that he is guilty of second-degree murder in the death of Tucker.