Opening statements made in Myron Britt trial
Posted July 6, 2009 8:09 p.m. EDT
Updated July 6, 2009 8:32 p.m. EDT
Lumberton, N.C. — Opening statement were made Monday in the retrial of a Cary man accused of killing his wife almost six years ago.
Myron Britt is charged with first-degree murder in the August 2003 shooting death of his wife, Nancy Britt, a Wake County teacher, at her sister's Robeson County home.
In his opening statement, Robeson County District Attorney Johnson Britt said a month before the school teacher's murder, the defendant was given a .25-caliber pistol by his brother.
Myron Britt told investigators that two years earlier, the pistol accidentally fired inside his mother's home, leaving a bullet in the floor. He said he threw the gun in Jordan Lake after his wife became upset about having it in the house. The pistol was never found.
However, prosecutors said the State Bureau of Investigation determined that the bullet in Nancy Britt was consistent with the bullet removed from her mother-in-law's home.
Defense attorney Jim Parrish challenged the SBI's report. In response, the judge limited testimony on firearms evidence, telling the state that it cannot testify that both bullets came from the same gun – or say there is a "match."
In his opening statement, Parrish said two expert witnesses will testify that there is little comparison between the two bullets to make a match.
The district attorney asked the judge to reconsider his "match" testimony ruling. The judge has his motion "under advisement."
The state's first witness was another sister of Nancy Britt's, Judy Ivey, who lives in the home where the shooting happened. She said nothing was out of place after the shooting, supporting the state's claim that robbery and burglary were not a motive.
The district attorney said Myron Britt was in financial trouble and wanted to collect on his wife's $800,000 life insurance policy.
Defense attorneys have maintained that the couple was happy and that Myron Britt had no motive to kill his wife.
A June 2006 trial ended in a mistrial when the jury deadlocked 11-1 in favor of conviction.
Testimony resumes Tuesday morning. If convicted, Myron Britt could face the death penalty.