Charles Grant's trial underway in Blakely - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Charles Grant's trial underway in Blakely

By Cade Fowler - bio | email

BLAKELY, GA (WALB) – Just months after Charles Grant wrapped up the NFL season as a member of the Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints, the defensive end is now on trial for involuntary manslaughter.

Jurors haven't heard testimony yet, but they did listen to opening statements this week. 

Prosecutors painted a picture of an out of control brawl outside a nightclub between two groups of men from rival counties.

It was the night before the Super Bowl, in February 2008, when Grant and a group of his friends traveled from Miller County to Blakely. But the night ended with Grant receiving a stab wound to the neck and a 23 year old pregnant woman dead from a gunshot wound.

Grant's defense says they're confident in their client's innocence.

"Charles Grant maintains his innocence of all charges against him in the indictment and intended to proceed through trial and we expect a positive verdict," said Grant's attorney Will Stone.

In his opening statement, prosecutor Ron Smith claimed Grant and a group of friends were inside a crowded Pokey's nightclub in Blakely when a fight broke out. The fight, prosecutors claim, started over a previous incident involving Anthony Williams and Marshae Stromer.

Smith points out that witnesses stated Grant tried to break up the fight before declaring it should move outside. 

Witnesses say as many as 200 people were on North Church Street when Grant's group and a group of men from Early County continued fighting. 

During the brawl, prosecutors say Woodrow Gray stabbed Grant in the neck. Moments later, Laquient Macklin, a friend of Grant's and a former corrections office, pulled a gun from Gucci bag and fired three shots in the air.  One of the bullets, prosecutors say, struck and killed Korinda Reed.

Reed, a mother of three, was 5 months pregnant at the time of her death.

It wasn't until three months later, in May 2008, when Grant and 6 others who investigators say were involved in the fight were charged with involuntary manslaughter.

Four Early County men entered plea deals. 

Grant, Macklin, Stromer are now on trial - Macklin for murder, aggravated assault, and feticide - Grant and Stromer for involuntary manslaughter.

A fourth defendant, Jarvis Tinson, agreed to a plea deal Wednesday and was fined one thousand dollars and sentenced to one year probation.

The trial is expected to last for several days and include expert testimony. Numerous witnesses, as many as 60, could take the stand.

Grant, a former NFL first round draft pick out of the University of Georgia, was released by the New Orleans Saints in March and has yet to sign with another team.

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