James McGriff (Center) is shown with his defense team
By Byron Spires,
The James McGriff murder trial started Wednesday morning.
McGriff is accused of second degree murder in the death of Otis Harley that occurred January 30, 2011.
He also faces charges of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and concealment of a firearm.
During opening statements prosecuting attorney Stefan Grow stated that Harley and McGriff got into an argument over a dice game during a backyard party.
Harley allegedly pushed McGriff, prosecutors said, and another man tried to break up the fight, but could not.
As the man walked away, Grow said, he heard a gunshot and turned to see Harley on the ground. Grow said McGriff then left the scene
Harley was shot once in the upper abdomen.
Defense attorney Mandy Garcia, in his opening remarks, stated that Harley had been the aggressor and that McGriff acted in self defense.
He added that Harley weighed 100 pounds more than McGriff and had a reputation for violence.
Garcia stated that the only prosecution witness who claimed to have seen McGriff with a gun on that day changed his story the day before his trial in another case in hopes of avoiding a lengthy prison sentence.
Three days have been set aside for the trial.
More will be posted as it develops.