Trial begins for man accused of Conway murder

Trial begins for man accused of Conway murder

A jury will decide whether a shooting in front of the Conway police department about a year ago is murder or self-defense.
CONWAY, AR - Cortez Waller didn't say much in court today, but his lawyers did.

They said that this is Waller, caught on camera in front of the Conway Police Department, and they said 'Yeah, he shot and killed Chris Childress, he did it.' But they said Waller didn't have a choice.

"Anyone who has seen the video on youtube will be able to see how he charged our client,” Waller’s attorney Frank Shaw said. “But there's much much more that hasn't come out yet, and we'll have to wait until testimony develops before I can speak on that issue.”

Does Shaw think Waller acted in self defense? “Absolutely."

Prosecutors see this video a whole lot differently. They call it murder.

They say Waller had an affair with the mother of Childress' kids. They say Childress wanted a fist fight, but Waller chose murder.

"I'm not going to characterize any of the evidence in the case at this point,” Prosecuting attorney Cody Hiland said. “Obviously, we feel like it’s 2nd degree murder or it wouldn't be charged there. We’re ready to proceed with our case, present the facts to the jury, and let the jury make the decision."

Testimony did get emotional Tuesday. One detective witnessed the shooting from inside the Conway Police Department. He told jurors he immediately ran outside without a bullet proof vest on, and teared up on the stand while recalling the moment, saying he thought about his wife.

He told jurors he still has dreams about the shooting to this day.

Prosecutors originally charged Cortez Waller with first degree murder but knocked the charge down to second degree murder yesterday.

Prosecuting attorney Cody Hiland wouldn't say exactly why, just that a 2nd degree charge is appropriate. The trial is expected to last 2 or 3 days.

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