NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) – Judge Phyllis Gorham took the weekend to decide if Anthony Pierce's criminal history is valid testimony in his current trial of second degree murder of Wilmington Police Officer Richard Matthews.
A special hearing took place Friday where prosecutors questioned Philadelphia police officers who responded to an armed robbery Pierce was a part of in 1994. District Attorney Ben David said Pierce's prior conviction shows his disregard for the lives of law enforcement officers.
Gorham ruled Monday morning that the state would be allowed to present evidence from the previous crimes in Philadelphia. As a result, the jury will hear from the officers involved – some of whom Pierce shot at during the robbery in 1994.
Lt. Kevin Wong was the first to take the stand Monday. He testified Pierce was one of two armed men who took hostages and robbed an illegal gambling house 16 years ago in Philadelphia.
One of the men involved shot Lt. Wong in the chest, but he was wearing a bullet proof vest and was able to chase them. Wong shot and killed one of the men, but Pierce was able to get away.
Defense Attorney Andrew Waters began cross examining Lt. Wong just before 10:30 Monday morning. He is trying to show the jury Pierce didn't have a weapon the day of the armed robbery in Philadelphia.