Defendant will represent himself during murder trial this week

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Nashid Porter
Nashid Porter

Trial is set to begin this week in the case of a Wallace man charged with the July 2012 shooting death of a 32-year-old man. Nashid Porter will stand trial and represent himself after he forfeited his right to a court-appointed attorney earlier this month.

Porter, 38, faces charges of first-degree murder and discharging a firearm into an occupied dwelling. His case will be heard by Judge Kenneth Crow in Pender County Superior Court, following a New Hanover County judge’s granting of a defense motion in early 2015 to change venue.

Porter is charged in the death of 32-year-old Brian Theodus Grant at a home in the 900 block of North 30th Street in Wilmington on July 27, 2012. Grant was found in the doorway of his girlfriend’s home with a single gunshot wound to his face, according to Wilmington Police Department Detective Lee Odham. Investigators determined that at the time of Grant’s shooting death, Porter was staying at a home on North 30th Street, near where Grant’s body was found.

U.S. Marshals arrested Porter in Fayetteville in September 2012. He was held at the New Hanover County Jail until he posted bond Feb. 14, 2014, when a judge ordered that Porter wear a GPS monitoring device while on pre-trial release.

Porter was arrested again by U.S. Marshals in November 2014, when he was charged with the murder of a state’s key witness in the Grant case. The witness was shot multiple times at an abandoned trailer on Wards Road on Nov. 14, 2014, according to Duplin County Sheriff’s Office Detective Matt English. Prosecutors in Duplin County indicated they will seek the death penalty in that case.

The May 31 trial date set for the 2012 murder charge is the third trial date scheduled in the case. Porter was originally scheduled for trial in January 2015, which was delayed by the witness’ death and change of venue. A second trial date was set for June, but the case was continued when the judge ordered Porter to undergo a mental health evaluation.

Crow’s order came after Porter rejected a plea deal, which would have required him to plead guilty to both the Wilmington and Duplin County murder charges in exchange for two life sentences, and sought to remove the capital defense attorney from his case. The judge has since found Porter competent to stand trial and has allowed the original public defender to withdraw from the case.

Several hearings have taken place regarding Porter’s counsel in the case since May 2015, but according to an order filed in Pender County Superior Court on May 10 this year, Porter was stripped of his right to a court appointed attorney in the case.

According to an order for forfeiture of counsel signed by Superior Court Judge Charles Henry, Porter has forfeited his right to court-appointed counsel. The court document states the justification for the order in Porter’s case is due to his “purposeful conduct and tactics” that have delayed and “frustrated” the orderly processes of the court to bring the case to trial.

Porter’s motions to remove three other attorneys from his case and hostility toward them, his disruptive behavior in court proceedings, as well as his accusations against court officials and attorneys of fraud and forgery, were among several reasons noted in the order for the ruling in the case. Porter has also filed a “Complaint of Misconduct” against District Attorney Benjamin R. David on April 22.

The defendant also was warned on four separate occasions that “the consequences of his conduct could result in the forfeiture of counsel,” the order states.

“Even if the attempts to warn the defendant of the consequences of continued misconduct were inadequate, the degree of misconduct of the defendant described herein justifies forfeiture of the defendant’s right to assistance of counsel,” Henry said in the order.

Henry granted Porter’s repeated requests to remove Chief Public Defender Jennifer Harjo and her co-counsel, attorney Walter Paramore, from the case. He also allowed a motion to withdraw from the case filed by another capital defense attorney, Kevin Peters.

Porter will represent himself in the trial with stand-by counsel appointed from the Pender County bar. District Attorney Ben David and Assistant District Attorney Connie Jordan are prosecuting the case for the state. Judge Henry will preside over the case during trial next week.

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