MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - Opening statements began Friday in the capital murder trial of Michael Berry, then man accused of shooting his wife in front of their four children.
In May 2010, police said Wendy Stevens and her children, ranging in ages from 3 to 14, were at the drive-up ATM at the then-RBC Bank at Cottage Hill and Schillinger roads.
Investigators believe Berry followed them there then shot Stevens to death .
The court appointed defense team, Ashley Cameron and Sid Harrell, told the jury in opening statements they will not be contesting that Michael Berry is the man that shot and killed Wendy Stevens.
The defense is asking the jury to pass down a lesser murder charge. Berry is facing a capital murder charge and its penalty is life without parole or the death penalty.
The prosecution, lead by District Attorney Ashley Rich, is asking the jury for a guilty verdict and for the death penalty.
Wendy Stevens' oldest son (a juvenile) was called by the state as the first witness to take the stand.
He was sitting behind his mother in the car the day she was shot.
He told the jury he, his mother and his three siblings drove to the RBC bank to withdraw money from an ATM. He said they were on the way to get film developed.
The witness said his mother was having trouble with her ATM card and was on the phone trying to get it solved, when he noticed Berry's truck pull up and block them in the drive-thru.
He said one of the younger siblings yelled, "It's Mike. It's Mike!"
The witness said he saw Berry get out of his truck and look around and then go back into his truck and grab a gun.
He said he saw Berry shot three shots into the windshield then two shots into the driver's side.
The witness said glass shattered everywhere and his siblings were ducking and yelling.
He said he went to go get help and when he came back, the paramedics and police were at the bank. He said he was told his mother had died.
Months leading up to Stevens killing
Stevens' oldest son testified that his mother began taking security measures around her home months before she was killed.
The state showed pictures of a phone recorder in Stevens' home and a surveillance system. The witness said his mother also installed security lights.
The state presented the contents of Stevens' purse to the jury. Stevens oldest son testified why his mother had the items in her purse.
Marriot Receipt: The witness said this where his mother would take the family if she felt unsafe in their home.
Penelope House Flyer: Stevens' son said his mother spent a week there to protect herself from Berry.
Protection Order against Berry: The witness said his mother kept this with her in her purse just in case she needed to show it.
Pictures of Berry: Stevens' son said she kept the pictures in her purse if she ever needed to identify Berry.
A video recording Stevens' son made with his cell phone was also shown to the jury. He said the video was of Berry acting "insane."
In the video, Berry pulls up beside Stevens at a red light. Audio from Berry cannot be heard but the witness says he was yelling and pointing at his mother.
Attorney Ashley Cameron asked Stevens' son questions pertaining to his memory of the last 10-years Berry was married to his mother.
Cameron asked if he thought Berry was a good stepfather, and the witness answered no.
The defense attorney's line of questioning revealed Berry would take the witness to his sports games and practices. And the family would take family vacations together.
The shooting was recorded on bank cameras, and the jury is expected to view it next week.
Stevens' attorney, Michael Murphy, said the couple had been married for 10 years. But in January 2010, she filed for divorce because she was concerned for her safety. The attorney said in March, Berry started stalking and harassing his wife, and it didn't stop even after a restraining order was put in place.
Murphy added Stevens was trying to work out a cordial divorce on the grounds of incompatibility.
Berry pleaded not guilty to the capital murder charge.
The shooting was recorded on bank security cameras. The jury is expected to view that video next week as the trial continues in Circuit Judge Michael Youngpeter's courtroom.
The evening of the shooting, Light said, he and his mother planned to go to Wal-Mart to get a copy made of a video that Light had recorded on his cell phone during a previous conflict with Berry.
Light said he recorded "Mike acting insane" when he pulled up next their car, rolled down his window and began shouting things at Stevens.
On the video, Stevens seems to be leaving a record of the harassment by saying "he follows me up and down the road."
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