PENDER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A murder suspect representing himself in his own trial spent day three of trial asking prospective jurors a wide range of questions.
When court started Thursday morning, the court still needed to pick two jurors and three alternates. After calling two potential jurors for questioning, District Attorney Ben David passed both of them.
Porter was then given a chance to question these two jurors. Porter began asking each juror if they know the definition of a law and the Bill of Rights. Porter continued asking questions about executive authority and the judicial power.
Porter also asked both jurors if they thought District Attorney Ben David, the assistant district attorney and the judge had executive authority over the United States. Porter also asked the jurors if they knew the definition of a grand jury.
Porter started asking one of the jurors about pigs, chickens, and a fox in regards to charges and authority. The juror said he did not understand Porter’s question. The judge intervened and Porter told him it was just a theory. Porter continued asking questions.
“Have you read the Bible?” Porter asked.
“What does that have to do with this?” the juror asked.
After a long list of questions about law, the Constitution, amendments, and background, Porter said he wanted to challenge these two jurors on a basis of cause. Porter told the judge he wanted to challenge one of the jurors on a basis of mental competence, because he did not understand the English language. The judge explained mental competence refers to mental illness.
The judge denied Porter’s challenge and put the two jurors on the final jury. Porter then said he wanted to challenge the whole jury panel, because he said he will not get a fair verdict. The judge denied that motion.
The court still needs three alternates.
One of the prospective jurors said he has been listening to everything that has been going on and he said it is frustrating just listening to it. He said listening to the questions Porter has been asking and him interrupting has been hard to handle.
After hours of questioning, 12 jurors were seated with three alternates.
Next, the court will have a 404 (b) hearing. The state wants to present some old and new testimony to present during trial. That testimony includes a new witness as of last week.
Patrick Bragg took the stand first. Bragg said he met Ben David last week. He said he asked his attorney to reach out to David. He said he has experienced a lot of turmoil.
“It’s time to stand up,” Bragg said
Bragg said Obediah Hester is his nephew. He was living with Hester when he got out of prison in 2011.
Sarah Bragg adopted Bragg when he was 10. Sarah is Hester’s grandma.
Bragg said Obi treated everybody like a family member. Bragg described a night when he was drinking and then there was an argument. He said people started breaking it up. He said everyone went inside the house. He said he knew Hester was there, but he did not know anyone else.
The next morning, Bragg said Hester woke him up and said he was going to the store to get shoes. He said 10-20 minutes later he heard three gun shots. He said they were loud, because he had the windows open. He said it sounded close. He said he could not see anything, so he ran outside.
Bragg said he saw Nashid Porter running from the area with a pistol. Bragg said he thought Porter was going to come back into the house, because that is where he stayed the night before. Bragg said he never saw Porter get into the car. He heard the car speed off. He said he stayed in the house and then detectives showed up.
Bragg said detectives told him Brian Grant had been murdered. Bragg said he did not tell the detectives anything, because it was not any of his business. He called Hester. Bragg said Hester went to the police department and testified. Bragg said there is a “don’t snitch” system out there or you will be a victim. He said he knew better.
Bragg said he knew Hester did not actually see the murder.
Bragg said Porter tried to reach out to Hester at one point. He said Porter called from D.C. and he asked if everything had passed over. Bragg said it had been a few months since the murder, because he was sitting in the passenger seat when Porter called. He said Porter called Hester multiple times.
In November 2014, Bragg was in custody for another drug charge. Bragg said he then heard Hester had been killed. Bragg said that is when he realized he should tell authorities what he knew.