WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- The fate of Anthony Pierce is in the hands of the jury. Pierce is accused of second degree murder in the death of Wilmington police officer Rich Matthews last year.
It was standing room only inside the courtroom today as dozens heard closing arguments before the jury makes its big decision. District Attorney Ben David got right to the point by explaining to the jury why Pierce should be found guilty of murder.
"Find this defendant guilty of eluding arrest, and find him guilty of causing the murder of Rich Matthews," David said.
Back in February 2009 Wilmington Police tried to pull over Pierce. Pierce took off, and he and his passengers allegedly threw packages of marijuana from their SUV. A call for help went out, that's when Ofc. Matthews sped down Shipyard Blvd.
Matthews never made it. He died when he crashed into a tree while trying to avoid a box in the road. The prosecution argues Pierce's actions caused Matthews's death.
"There is no way that as I stand here and as you sit there that I can tell you to void from your mind that a Wilmington Police officer is dead," defense attorney Andrew Waters told the jury. He spent more than two hours on his closing arguments. Waters spent much of his closing on the police department's policy manual pointing out that rules in that manual were broken, on the night officer matthews lost his life.
Now that closing arguments are done, Pierce and family and friends from both sides, will wait to see how the 12-member jury will decide.
The jury will decide whether to convict Pierce on second-degree murder or involuntary manslaughter. They will also decide on a gun charge and a drug charge.