“We’re all family,” David Shepherd said as he—according to a prosecutor—lifted up a revolver, stuck it into Henry Miller’s mouth and pulled the trigger. “But family can get their motherf**king heads blown off, too.”
The prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Lara Worm, was quoting a witness to the shooting in opening arguments Wednesday. Worm argued there was nothing that could have provoked Shepherd to shoot Miller.
According to prosecutors, Miller bypassed Shepherd during a conversation when he went to his cousin’s truck to get a cigarette and Shepherd flew into a rage. After the two exchanged heated words, Shepherd left and then returned to shoot Miller, according to Worm.
But defense attorney Michael Carter argued that Miller was drinking and out of control that night, and that the shooting was a matter of self-defense.
“Shepherd was faced with a life or death situation,” Carter told the court. “Miller says something loudly to Shepherd and startles him. Miller pulls out a revolver. They struggle over the gun and the gun goes off.”
Shepherd, 50, is charged with premeditated first-degree murder while armed in connection with the shooting death of 32-year-old Miller.
On June 3, 2012, police found Miller suffering from multiple gunshot wounds in the 1100 block of Chicago Street Southeast. He was transported to a local hospital where he later died.
After the shooting, Shepherd walked away as “coolly” as he approached when he drove off in a white pick-up truck and that police had to drive at “extreme high speeds” to catch shepherd, according to Worm.
Carter argued that Shepherd was afraid.
“He was approached by a drunk man, he reacted,” Carter argued. “After the shooting, he takes off. He was scared.”
Worm told jurors, police found a handgun underneath the floorboards of the white trunk after Shepherd was caught.
The gun police found in Shepherd’s truck belonged to Miller, Carter told jurors.
Prosecutors say they will call witnesses to prove Shepherd had no reason to shoot Miller
“It was senseless, unprovoked, and tragic,” Worm said.
Defense believes there are no credible witnesses to the trial.
“The witnesses didn’t see what happened and don’t know what happened,” Carter argued.
According to Carter, Shepherd was left without any options and asked the court to put themselves in Shepherd shoes.
“When he was confronted by Miller, his life was on the line. He did the only thing he could do,” Carter said. “What the law allows him to do is protect himself.”
The trial will resume Monday, July 7, at 9:30 a.m.