Christmas night at the Grate household in Loris two years ago was anything but silent or holy.
“That night was interrupted by the sound of a gunshot,” said Katie Owens, an assistant solicitor in Horry County.
On Tuesday, Owens detailed how Christmas night in 2016 at the Roger Grate household went from celebration to an alleged murder. An argument between Grate and Darrell Doctor, a relative, ended with Doctor dead in the street. Police charged Grate with murder, but he said shooting Doctor was in self-defense.
Grate faces life in prison if convicted. Both the state and Grate presented opening arguments to the jury Tuesday morning.
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The murder happened in the middle of a Loris-area street and Doctor was pronounced dead at the scene, Owens said.
Grate argued with his stepson and Grate got upset when Doctor got involved, Owens said.
“Roger Grate wanted to pull out his gun and wanted to point that gun at Darryl’s forehead and Roger Grate wanted to pull the trigger and Roger Grate wanted to murder,” Owens said.
Doctor was not violent, didn’t have a weapon and never made threats, Owens said.
Defense attorney Kia Wilson said there was drinking and ruckus that night. Doctor inserted himself into the situation after being asked several times to leave and refusing the request, Wilson said.
“Mr. Grate did try to get away from that situation,” she said.
Grate was defending himself and had a right to stand his ground, Wilson said.
“It is not a simple matter of a malicious killing,” Wilson said. “That did not happen here.”