PENDER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - The State called their first witness to the stand Thursday in a pre-trial hearing that will precede the murder trial of Nashid Porter.
Patrick Bragg, 30, of Wilmington, said he heard the gunshots that killed Brian Grant in 2012.
Porter refused to be in the courtroom while Bragg testified. Judge Chuck Henry said he had every right to make that choice. The judge denied Porter's request to be taken back to the New Hanover County Detention Center.
"So you're going to torture me," Porter said. "I understand."
Before he was taken back to a holding cell, Porter stood up at his table and exclaimed, "I object to everything, put me in contempt of court!"
Bragg said he was with Porter, Grant, and Obediah Hester the night before Grant was shot to death. Porter is also charged with the 2014 murder of Obediah Hester.
According to Bragg, Grant and Porter got into a "heated" argument and had to be separated.
Bragg said he heard three gunshots ring out from across the street the next morning, around 7 a.m. He said he ran outside to see what was going on, and watched Porter run out of Grant's home, tucking a gun into his pants.
Bragg told the judge he didn't go to investigators with details because there is a code to not talk to police.
"Don't snitch," Bragg said. "Don't talk to police, or else you will be a victim."
Once District Attorney Ben David wrapped up his questioning, Porter refused the opportunity to come back and question Bragg.
David said he plans to call four witnesses Friday as the pre-trial hearing continues.
Jury selection was finalized Thursday morning.
One juror fell ill, and another needed an emergency procedure, so the judge dismissed both. The 12 members of the jury were seated in the morning, and three alternates were chosen in the afternoon.
Porter is charged with first-degree murder in connection to the July 2012 death of 32-year-old Brian Grant. While on pre-trial release, Porter allegedly took a prosecution witness in the Grant murder case, Obediah Hester IV, 27, to an area between Wallace and Harrells and killed him execution-style.
Because Porter is representing himself, he questioned jurors during the selection process. He quizzed them about state and federal law, asking them, "what is a bill?" and "how does a law become a law?" One juror responded, "I didn't go to law school, I don't know."
At one point, Porter asked, "Have you heard of the house of representers?" One juror said, "I haven't had time to sit there and look over all this like you have."
All jurors seemed to struggle to comprehend what Porter was asking.
After District Attorney Ben David made several objections to his style of questioning, and a juror exclaimed, "gee whiz man! you are hard to follow!" Porter took up a different tactic.
He stated he wanted to present a theory to the jurors, and said:
Then Porter asked the juror, "so you think the grand jury can charge, or the pig can charge?"
David quickly made an objection, and Judge Chuck Henry sustained it.
"It was a little incomprehensible," Henry said. "Complex, even."
Porter told the judge he was concerned that the potential jurors might not understand the written or spoken English language. Judge Henry said he wasn't worried since they were gainfully employed and had some form of education.
For more details from the courtroom, you can follow Susanna Black on Twitter @SusannaWECT.