CHARLOTTE – With family members of both the victim and the defendant present in the courtroom, the Michael Mead murder trial got underway Tuesday morning.
Prosecutor Robert Forbes says Mead raped and shot his pregnant fiancee, Lucy Johnson, twice in the back of the head in July 2008, then set her Gaston County home on fire.
Johnson was carrying Mead's child. During an autopsy, Forbes said Mead's DNA was found inside her body.
"You'll also hear evidence that Mr. Mead had asked her about having an abortion, of which she denied doing. He also asked her to prove to him the child was his by a DNA test," said Forbes.
Forbes told jurors they would also hear testimony about Mead's behavior in the days following the murder.
"He was the first person to say she was shot in the head twice...and was asking on of the neighbors if they had heard gunshots,” said Forbes.
Defense attorney Lisa Dubs pointed the blame at another man, Johnson's ex-boyfriend Jim Spelock.
She said Johnson warned a friend just hours before her death death saying, “Remember what I said. If something happens to me, Jim Spelock did it.”
Johnson and Spelock were involved in a custody battle over their young son. Just days before her death, Dubs said Johnson threatened to out Spelock as a crossdresser after discovering several purchases he made on eBay.
Dubs said in the weeks ahead, jurors will hear from loved ones describing how happy Mead and Johnson were to begin their lives together, calling mead another victim in this case.
"With those two shots to the head, Mike lost his child, he lost his fiance,” she said.
As soon as opening statements wrapped up, the state called two of Johnson's neighbors to testify.
Both broke out in tears when describing the night they woke up and saw Johnson's house on fire. They also shed light on how Mead behaved in the days that followed, describing him as “over dramatic" and asking neighbors whether or not they heard gunshots that night.