Jury hears opening arguments in accused cop killer's trial - New York News

Jury hears opening arguments in accused cop killer's trial

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DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. -

A jury heard opening arguments in the trial of a man charged with killing two off-duty DeKalb County police officers.

William Woodard is accused of killing DeKalb County police officers Ricky Bryant Jr. and Eric Barker with a .40 caliber handgun. Both were working an off-duty security job at the Glenwood Garden Apartments in January 2008 when they were shot to death.

DeKalb Prosecutor Don Geary said Woodard scuffled with one of the officers who had approached him. He said Woodard took his gun and shoved it into the officer's stomach, just underneath his vest, and opened fire.

The defense acknowledges Woodard is a convicted felon who should not have had a gun. Woodard's attorney, Dwight Thomas, told the jury the shooting was a case of self-defense.

"That self-defense is based on upon a series of provocations, excessive force and brutality that was used on him January 16, 2008 by two people that he believed to be bullies with badges," said Thomas.

Witnesses for the prosecution took the stand late Tuesday morning. Herbie Durham testified that he heard gunshots just outside his car. Durham said he approached one of the fallen officers lying on the ground.

The defendant's one-time girlfriend, Jurusha Tucker, said that Woodard had talked previously of holding "street court" and not going back to jail. Tucker acknowledged that she received reward money for turning Woodard in, tearfully saying that she was sorry to have done so.

DeKalb County prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Woodard.

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