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FIRST ON 3: Jury seated in Pierce trial; opening arguments begin

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Attorneys have selected a jury for the trial of a man charged with second-degree murder in the death of a Wilmington police officer last year. Two alternate jurors were also selected for the trial of Anthony Pierce.

After seating a jury, attorneys began opening arguments Tuesday afternoon.

The jury includes three women and nine men. One of the 12 jurors is black. The other 11 are white.

Prosecutors say Pierce led police on a high-speed chase through Wilmington early on the morning of Feb. 18, 2009. While responding as back-up, Ofc. Rich Matthews swerved to avoid a box in the middle of Shipyard Blvd. He wound up hitting trees on the other side of the road and died.

A month later a grand jury indicted Pierce on second-degree murder. Prosecutors argue Pierce's reckless actions led to Matthews's death.

Stay with WWAY NewsChannel 3 and wwaytv3.com for continuing coverage throughout the trial, which is expected to last about two weeks.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.

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If Pierce is convicted of

If Pierce is convicted of this officer's death, it will set a dangerous precedent. It will mean that any time an officer is hurt or killed responding to a call, someone else miles away could be held accountable. Not a good thing. This matter would never have come up if the officer had hit and killed an ordinary citizen and he had survived.

Pierce Trial

Never would I have imagined to be close to such a story. I can honestly say that I hope Anthony Pierce is charged with 2nd degree murder, although I don't think he will. The laws seem to be for the criminals and not the victims. Knowing many of Wilmington's finest, I can see where it's like spitting in the wind for them. They try and enforce the laws and the judicial system is turning criminals back onto the streets as fast as the reports can be typed up. It's time, and hopefully this trial will set a precedent, to let the drug lords and the common criminals know that their animal behaviors are unacceptable. R.I.P Rich

Trial

I feel the judge went to far as to ban WPD Officers from wearing their uniforms. And the guy should be charged with the crime 2nd degree murder. ALL druggies SUCK anyway!!!!!!!!!!! I think more of dog crap than a drug user!!!! Plus the fool had weapons and he's a convicted felon!!! The courts give the law breakers way to much freedom, A slap on the wrist and a fine. let a hard working person get a ticket and your treated like you really did something you'll regret for the rest of your life.. Stop being soft on the DIRT BAGS!!!!! Give them life, Put them back on the chain gang (then they can say they really belong on one) make the fools work to pay back the families, take the ball courts away,weights,TV,. HOPE THEY FIND HIM GUILTY!!!!!!! HOPE YOU GET LIFE!!!!!

Hardly

I personally agree with the Judge's ruling. No matter what happened, the man deserves a fair trail like any other American and having a courtroom full of uniformed cops looking down at the Jury doesn't exactly make it fair. It's not as if the man held a gun to the cops head either, he made a mistake and should to prison for it, but this wasn't a drug execution. The police officer used poor judgement in speeding in a downtown area and was killed because of his own mistake. Is this defendant to blame...perhaps in a way yes, but he still didn't pull the trigger.

How is this downtown?

This is nowhere near downtown... Cardinal Lanes on Shipyard and that vicinity is not downtown. So how is that poor judgement. That road is rated 50 mph, so yes he was speeding but arent the police taught defensive driving so they can use that speed when necessary? I think it is all Mr. Pierces fault. Had he not tried to run, this would have never happened.

In addition to

I think it was also 1am, so traffic was light, no pedestrians were out. I agree, if he had stopped we would not be here discussing what happened to Rich.

Skid marks a thousand feet long

As much as I hate it, I got to agree with you. A driver is responsible for maintaining control of their vehicle. I worked on Shipyard Boulevard at the time and I saw the skid marks and damage to the tree before I knew the facts of the accident. When I learned what happened, I couldn’t believe a police officer had made those skid marks. The officer had to have been traveling well over a 100 miles per hour. While his concern for his fellow officer is commendable, he is responsible to maintain a safe speed for his, and the public, safety. When he lost control and crossed into the on-coming lanes he would have killed innocent civilians had someone been headed west on Shipyard Boulevard.

It made me sick to see (on TV) that “spit eating” grin Pierce had on his face as he walked into court. And I hope they throw the book at the guy for being a felon in possession of a hand gun, and possession of drugs. But as somebody that didn’t know either party, and tries to make fair and objective decisions everyday; I can’t see the guy being guilty of second degree murder.