ST. JOSEPH, Mich. --- A Benton Harbor man was in court today on charges of murdering an 18-year-old.
Terrance Shelby, 30, faces one charge of open murder and a felony firearm charge. He's accused of killing 18-year-old Grady Manns last May.
The state and defense both started with opening statements. While Shelby's attorney Lanny Fisher was speaking, Shelby got very emotional as Fisher recounted the night.
Manns allegedly had a relationship with Shelby's 13 year old step daughter. In the early morning hours of May 12, Shelby went downstairs in his home and found his step-daughter and Manns. According to police, he said he was going to "whoop [his daughter's] expletive" and she fled the home. When Manns tried to leave the front door, he wouldn't let him. So Manns fled through the back door.
Shelby told police he didn't shoot Manns when he first left, but rather when he came back to the home. Shelby told police he felt nervous when there were three men outside of his home. Two of them left but one returned to his home. The person was trying to get in the home through a window, but Shelby confronted him and says he ran outside to confront the person but he was running away so he fired a warning shot.
That shot hit Grady Manns in the chest, entering his left lung, through his trachea and lodging itself in his right lung.
"You'll see that this defendant committed the crime of murder of Grady Manns, by taking the law into his own hands," Jennifer Smith, Assistant Chief Deputy Prosecutor said.
"Murder is chasing someone down, shooting them in the back and using all six bullets," Lanny Fisher, defense attorney said. "Self defense is firing one shot and when that threat leaves, you stop. That's what happened."
Grady Manns' mother took the stand to recount the last moments she saw and spoke to her son. Around 8:45 p.m. on May 11, she talked to her son who was playing basketball with friends. The next day, she received calls from friends saying it looked like her son who was found dead near East Empire Ave.
Nina Stansberry was strong on the stand, but the day's emotional toll got to her and the rest of Manns' family. During 911 calls, Manns' family was crying as strangers told dispatch about the condition of the body found in the grass.
"Did anyone check to see if he was awake?" the 911 operator asked. "Or if he was breathing?"
The caller is heard shouting to someone to check if Manns was awake and responds, "He is not awake. He is deceased."
A second caller described what Manns' body looked like.
"His mouth is full of foam," she said.
"Maybe he had a seizure or something like that," the 911 operator said.
"I don't think it was a seizure because there was blood on his shoes," the caller said. "Like he was trying to get away or something. I don't know."
The day got even more emotional for the family, as the state showed photos from the scene of the crime. The photos showed Manns sprawled out on the grassy area of McCallister Street. An officer described arriving on scene and attempting life saving efforts. However, he stopped because Manns body was stiff with Rigor mortis. At this point, Stansberry and other family members left the court room.
The photos continued to get closer to the subject until Manns sweatshirt was visible. The "North Face" logo on the front of it was enlarged, taking up most of the front of the sweatshirt and a visible hole was in the "t" of the word North.
While Deputy Ben Eberly, an evidence technician with the Berrien County Sheriff, was on the stand, he laid out that there were bloody footprints in the area near Manns body that he believed showed a running pattern. Eberly was not responsible for collecting the blood samples for analysis but Fisher said the blood never reached the lab for analysis.
Fisher also asked if the blood could have been animal blood. Eberly said it could be a possibility but during cross examination, Eberly said there was no reason to believe the blood in the alleyway and on the asphalt was anyone else other than the deceased.
The trial continues Wednesday morning.