Murder trial of man accused of shooting Columbus father to death - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Murder trial begins for man accused of shooting Columbus father to death

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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

The trial for the man accused off gunning down a Columbus father of two began Monday in Columbus. 

Oscar James Senior was on trial for the shooting death of 31-year-old Charles Willis on the intersections of 7th Avenue and Lawyers Lane in Columbus on April 13, 2012.
     
Police reported Senior used a revolver in the attack, striking Willis in the head, killing him.  
    
Day one of the trial began with a jury selection but not without some hang-ups. The State accused the defense of racial discrimination while picking jurors. Assistant District Attorney Don Kelly accused public defender Vicki Novak of dismissing jurors because they were Caucasian. 

Novak explained she struck jurors based off their ability to identify with the defendant. Judge Maureen Gottfried, who is presiding over her first felony case, ruled in Novak's favor. The jury is made of mostly African American's and one Caucasian woman. 

Opening statements wrapped up Monday afternoon.

Two witnesses, the victim's cousin Douglass Body and the defendant's girlfriend Vinyetta Longino, testified very few words were exchanged before the shooting occurred. 

ADA Don Kelly claimed the shooting was cold blooded murder.

"Mr. Willis rolled his window down and said, 'hey what's up'? Senior by all accounts did not respond and Mr. Willis said, 'oh you're going to be like that with your home boy Charles' and Mr. Senior reached into his waistband, pulled out a revolver and emptied that revolver into the car," Kelly claimed.

Longino testified she, Senior, and their small were walking towards her home on Lawyers Lane with they encountered Willis. Longino testified  she did not perceive Willis as a threat when he called out to them.

During opening statements defense attorney, public defender Vicki Novak stressed to the jury to "pay attention to the details" and think about what evidence was missing. 
     
Upon cross examining Longino, Novak stated Senior felt threatened by Willis' tone. Novak also said Senior was in fear for Longino and his child's life due to her home being shot at 16 times two months prior to the Willis shooting. 

Senior is facing five charges including malice and felony murder. If Senior is convicted he could spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole. 
    
The trial will resume Tuesday morning.

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