Judge to allow witness testimony ahead of murder trial

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Nashid Porter
Nashid Porter

A judge has granted a State’s motion for a witness to testify ahead of the first-degree murder trial of Nashid Porter.

Porter, 37, of Wallace, has been charged with first-degree murder and discharging a firearm into an occupied dwelling in the death of Brian Theodus Grant at a home on North 30th Street in Wilmington on July 27, 2012.

Porter’s first-degree murder trial was scheduled to get underway June 1 without a key State’s witness, Obediah Hester IV, 27, who was gunned down in Duplin County last November, two months before the trial was originally scheduled. The trial was delayed after Porter was charged with first-degree murder in Hester’s November 2014 shooting death. Porter was out of jail on pre-trial release at the time of Hester’s death.

According to Assistant District Attorney Connie Jordan, New Hanover County Superior Court Judge Phyllis Gorham granted the State’s motion to preserve the testimony of another witness in the case on Wednesday.

“We requested that we be allowed to take the testimony of a witness in the case and allow [the public defender] to cross examine [the witness] to use that testimony if we need it at a later date,” Jordan explained.

A date has not been set to record the witness’ testimony. The DA’s office is withholding the witness’ identity.

No action has was taken Wednesday on Porter’s request to remove his attorney, Capital Public Defender Nora Hargrove, from the case. During a May 29 hearing in Pender County Superior Court, a judge ruled Porter must undergo a mental health evaluation after he rejected two plea deals and sought to remove Hargrove from the case.

Superior Court Judge Kenneth Crow said in that hearing he would rule on Porter’s request to remove Hargrove at a later date. Crow ordered that Porter undergo an emergency mental health evaluation at Central Regional Hospital, a medical prison facility in Butner.

Porter had to be removed from the courtroom Wednesday after repeated outbursts, Jordan said.

A judge has yet to rule on the admissibility of evidence argued during a hearing in January to allow Hester’s video testimony to be used in Porter’s murder trial, Jordan said. The admissibility of the evidence will be heard before the trial gets underway, she added.

According to Duplin County Court records, Porter is scheduled to appear in Duplin County District Court on June 12 to face the murder charge in Hester’s death and several felony drug charges, including trafficking cocaine.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly identified the witness testimony was Obedia Hester, a State’s witness who was killed last year. Port City Daily regrets the error. 

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