Aunt testifies during Woodard's sentencing hearing - FOX 13 News

Aunt testifies during Woodard's sentencing hearing

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Juanita Graves Juanita Graves
DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. -

Jurors continued to listen to testimony in the sentencing hearing of convicted cop killer William Woodard on Wednesday.

Woodard was convicted last week in the murders of Eric Barker and Ricky Bryant Jr. Woodard claimed he shot them in self-defense after the officers confronted him at an apartment complex where they were working off-duty security jobs in 2008.

Jurors heard from Woodard's mentally ill aunt, Jaunita Graves, on Wednesday.

Graves admitted to jurors that she used drugs and prostituted herself. Graves told the jury she committed a number of violations when Woodard was young. One occurred in front of her nephew.

"Me and my sister, we got into a fight over some drugs one day. And I beat her. And little Willy was right there. He stopped it," testified Graves.

Graves told the jury she takes medication to treat her mental health disorders.

The testimony is part of the defense strategy to spell out the extraordinary amount of substance abuse, violence, neglect and mental instability they say Woodard was exposed to as a child.

When defense attorney Bill Morrison pressed Graves about her fears that Woodard might be sentenced to death, she broke down. Graves was escorted out of the courtroom and as she passed Woodard, she told her nephew that she was sorry.

The jury was taken out of the courtroom for a brief time, and soon brought back in once Graves was out of the courtroom. She did not resume her testimony.

Testimony was continued by a social worker, who began to explain how Woodard's entire family is burdened with problems of mental health disorders, abuse and neglect.

Rebuttal witnesses for the prosecution will take the stand on Thursday morning.

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