Trial begins for Charlotte man facing life in prison for death of 14-year-old girl

Trial begins for Charlotte man facing life in prison for death of 14-year-old girl
Darvon Fletcher has been charged with first-degree murder in the killing of Taylor Sorera Smith.

GASTONIA, NC (WBTV) - A Charlotte family says they’re one step closer to closure and justice now that their daughter’s accused killer is finally getting his day in court.

Investigators say 14-year-old Taylor Smith was shot and killed because of 20-year-old Darvon Fletcher, who was 18 at the time of the murder.

This all happened back in April 2017 at River Street Park in Mount Holly. The final pool of jurors were selected Tuesday afternoon.

This has been a long time coming for Taylor Smith’s family. Her grandmother, Carolyn Grimsley, spoke to WBTV’s Bria Bell outside the courtroom in between court sessions and she says everyone is innocent until proven guilty, but that her family can’t heal until the people who killed her granddaughter are locked away for good.

Investigators say Taylor Smith knew Darvon Fletcher but didn’t get too deep into what kind of relationship the two had. A third person by the name of Eric Combs was with them on that day in April. All three were from Charlotte. It’s not clear why they were in Mount Holly at the park or why Taylor ended up getting shot.

Opening statements came from both Fletcher’s defense attorney, James Exum, and the DA’s office. The defense pleaded with jurors to pay close attention to the evidence because none of it proves his client is guilty for the murder. He says Combs was the mastermind behind it all and was the one to pull the trigger.

“We seek the truth, the whole truth and absolutely nothing but the truth,” said James Exum.

Taylor Smith’s grandma says her granddaughter was outgoing, fun, loved life and never had a chance to live out her dreams or ambitions.

“She was a flower that was picked too soon. She did not have an opportunity to bloom. She was just 14,” said Grimsley.

None of Fletcher’s family members wanted to talk on camera. Eric Combs is sitting behind bars waiting for his day in court. Sessions for Fletcher’s trial will pick back up Wednesday morning.

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