COVINGTON -- The felony murder trial of Roland Lebaron Wilson Jr. began Tuesday in Newton County Superior Court.
Wilson, of 2914 Chesterfield Way in Conyers, was arrested in 2009 and charged with two counts of felony murder, aggravated battery and aggravated assault, in connection with the beating death of William Okafor.
Okafor suffered severe head injuries at his home on 85 Fairclift Drive in Covington on July 26, 2009, after Wilson and several other men allegedly beat him with a landscaping brick in front of his mother and stepfather, Carletta and Eddie Sharp.
Okafor, who was 21 at the time, died on July 31, 2009, at Atlanta Medical Center after being declared brain dead. His cause of death was determined to be blunt impact head trauma.
On Tuesday, 12 jurors and one alternate heard testimony brought forth by the state prosecutor from the 9-1-1 operator who took the call for help, a surgeon at Atlanta Medical, the doctor who performed the autopsy on Okafor for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, officials from the Newton County Sheriff's Office and the victim's sister and mother. Okafor's stepfather has died since the incident.
Okafor's mother, Carletta Sharp, testified that she saw Wilson hit her son in the head with a brick after he came to her house with three other men. She knew Wilson because he worked for her company's house cleaning business, but the other men have yet to be identified.
Additionally, the victim's sister testified that her stepfather called her to return to the house after she had left a few minutes before the incident; during the call, he identified Wilson as the perpetrator.
Public defender Anthony Carter told jurors during opening statements that witnesses called by Assistant District Attorney Anne Kurtz have "weaknesses and lack evidence" to convict Wilson within a reasonable doubt.
The trial is expected to continue today at the Newton County Courthouse.