BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) -- The trial for a man accused of murdering an elderly woman begins.
After several days of delays due to a flu outbreak, the murder trial of 53-year-old Richard Grissett finally started this afternoon. He's accused of killing 86-year-old Linnie Mae Ward at her home in November 2012.
The prosecution says Grissett was high on crack when he robbed and murdered Ward at her Longwood home. But she did not give up without a fight.
Investigators say she ran to her bedroom and grabbed her rifle. The prosecution says Grissett took the rifle from Ward's hand with such force it split the skin on her arm and knocked her to the ground.
"He straddles the top of her and begins to pumble her in the face, blackening both eyes, breaking a rib on the right side of her body, causing head trauma,” Assistant District Attorney Lee Bollinger said in his opening statement.
That's when they say Grissett strangled her. Prosecutors say during the struggle, Ward tore off Grissett’s gold chain, which they say was found under Ward's body.
They say Grissett ransacked the home but only took ward's rifle, which was later recovered at Grissett’s home.
Prosecutors say the next day neighbors saw Grissett acting strange and with a cut on his face. So, when they found out Ward was dead they called 911.