METTER, GA (WTOC) - This trial on murder and arson charges in Metter almost ended before it could start.
Quentin Horton sat in court waiting to be tried for the murder of his next door neighbor, Jeffrey Hagan when bailiffs told Judge Kathy Palmer that Hagan's mother had suffered a tearful outburst at the jury room door as many of them arrived.
Defense attorney Brandy Payne said that display could influence jurors and asked for a mistrial. Judge Palmer denied the request and said jurors could have seen the same from the mother in the audience.
Prosecutors told the jury in their opening statement they case would show that Holton stabbed Hagan 14 times after they'd spent the evening drinking and that Holton stole a distinctive rifle from Hagan afterward before setting a fire to hide those crimes.
Defense attorneys countered that they would show something different and urged the jurors to keep an open mind.
The jury could begin deliberations Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday morning. We'll stay on top of it and let you know the latest.