10/30/13 — Testimony starts in murder trial

View Archive

Testimony starts in murder trial

By John Joyce
Published in News on October 30, 2013 1:46 PM

A jury has been seated and opening arguments delivered in the first-degree murder trial of Antonio Jamar Seaberry, 29.

Seaberry is accused of shooting Laquan Devon Pearsall, 20, to death in September 2011.

Jury selection began Monday morning in Wayne County Superior Court and by the end of the day Tuesday a jury had been impaneled and testimony had begun.

Fresh testimony and evidence likely will create some "bones of contention," defense attorney George E. Kelly II said on his way out of the courtroom Tuesday afternoon.

Assistant District Attorney Matthew Delbridge is prosecuting the case for the state.

Pearsall, 20, was shot in Jefferson Court Apartments.

More than 70 items of evidence have been introduced by the prosecution, most of them crime scene photographs. Three witnesses also testified on Tuesday.

The first two witnesses were a Jefferson Court resident and a man who had been visiting her the night of the shooting. Her apartment's storm door was shot out during the firing, which both witnesses testified to hearing but not seeing.

A projectile was recovered outside Apartment 22, where the door was struck and glass shattered. A garbage can belonging to Apartment 22 was also struck by a bullet, which was never recovered.

A third projectile was recovered next to the body of the victim, along with several shell casings. A few more shell casings were recovered leading up to the victim from the parking lot, as was a single Nike flip-flop.

SBI crime scene investigator Justin Godwin described to the jury the process by which he and Goldsboro police detectives collected evidence that night, and one-by-one described each photograph introduced into evidence.

Many of the photos were shown to the jury.

Some included images of Pearsall's body and wounds. Members of both the victim's family and those of the defendant's were seated in the courtroom. Members of both parties bowed their heads, some wiping away tears.

The crime scene is not what will be debated, Kelly said. He would not elaborate but said there was much more information likely to come out today that would paint a different picture than the one initially drawn by prosecutors.

Officers with the Goldsboro Police Department found Pearsall's body behind an apartment when responding to a shots fired call in the area about 11 p.m. on the night of Sept. 17., 2011.

Investigators charged Seaberry with the murder on Dec. 9, 2012, placing him in the Wayne County Jail without bond, and at the time said that additional arrests were pending.

No additional arrests were ever made.

Sure to come out in the next few days are the facts surrounding the investigation and what lead the police to settle on Seaberry as the lone suspect charged.

Kelly indicated that this is the area in which he is expecting evidence to surface.

A jury of 14 Wayne County residents -- 3 women and 11 men -- including alternates, will decide the case.