Lexington County, SC (WLTX) - Opening statements took place Tuesday in a Lexington County murder trial.
Sidney "Butch" Hursey, 71, is charged with murder in connection with the shooting death of 37-year-old Christopher Michael Reese.
The shooting happened in 2009 at Cowboy's Auction, a business that Hursey owned near Gaston. Reese worked for Hursey at the Auction house and rented an apartment on Hursey's land.
Prosecutors say Reese had a history of drug and alcohol abuse and was working to get his life together. But the defense says Reese was selling drugs and his drinking was out of control and that lead to Hursey asking Reese to move off the land.
"The only leverage someone like Michael Reese had in this battle with Mr. Hursey--a man who owned property and owned land--the only leverage that Reese had was knowledge," said Jake Hubbard, one of the prosecutors in the case. "Mr. Hursey in a back room of his business ran illegal video poker machines
"The state is going to try and fabricate some kind of nonsense about video poker machines to try and prejudice you in some fashion," said Jake Moore, Hursey's attorney. "From day one Bruce has never denied having the machines trying to earn an extra dollar, but folks that is a long way from murder."
The trial continues Wednesday.