Opening arguments in James Brock double murder trial

By Taylor Barnhill  - bio | email

COLUMBUS, GA (WXTX) -  Opening arguments started Monday for a man accused of killing two people. James Brock is on trial for the shooting deaths of Tyesha McNair and Terrence Clark in October 2009.

Their families sat in court, facing the man accused of their murder. Tyesha's mother LaTonya Boyd said, "She didn't deserve to die, period and neither did Mr. Clark."

The families of Tyesha McNair and Terrence Clark have already had to deal with the pain of losing their children, now they have to face the man accused of taking those young lives in court.

Milton Clark, Terrence's father, said, "It's very hard because seeing someone who did what they did that didn't need to be done, yes I have a problem with looking at him, but what else can I do about it?"

Although Tyesha and Terrence were good friends, their families had never met, but his tragedy has brought them together.

"I just wanted to reach out to him because he lost his son as well as me losing my daughter and were both close to our children. I wanted him to know Tyesha was not a bad person. I didn't want him to have any hard feelings towards her," said Boyd.

They will spend the next week in court, hearing details and testimony describing how their children were shot and killed, but they rely on the fact that they are the only voices left for Tyesha and Terrence.

Clark added, "It can be an emotional situation but in order to get past this situation, we have to go through this situation. Hopefully at the end of the day, when all is said and done, everything will rule in our favor, justice will be done and we can put our lives back together and continue to move on."

With a typical murder trial it is customary to say: "a jury will decide James Brock's fate", but not in this case. Brock has requested a bench trial, meaning no jury will be present and judge will make the final decision.

He shocked several people when he made the decision Monday to have a bench trial versus a jury trial. That means no jurors will hear evidence or witness testimony. It will be entirely up to the judge to make the final decision in the double murder case.

"That's a decision he made with the full knowledge of the consequences. I can't look at that now, I just have to move on with the trial and that's an adjustment I'll have to make. It's my client's wishes and that's his wishes," explained James Brock's attorney, Shevon Thomas.

Shevon Thomas also says he advised his client not to exercise his rights to a bench trial, but in the end that was Brock's choice.

Judge Bobby Peters tells News Leader Nine although he has conducted many bench trials, he has never had one with a case this serious.

The District Attorney's office consulted with the victim's families and they agree with the decision for a bench trial.

Opening arguments took place Monday morning and Tuesday the first of 35 witnesses will take the stand.

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