By Georgette Huff
The jury was seated on Monday, Jan. 31, as Audrey (Branch) Cole went on trial for the murder of Matthew Mott at the couple’s home near Mechanicstown on May 3, 2021.
Cole has been charged with murder with a specification regarding the use of a firearm and felonious assault for causing harm by the use of a weapon.
In his opening statement, Prosecuting Attorney Steven Barnett told jurors the “case is not a whodunit,” but is “about a defendant who brought a gun to a fistfight.”
Defense attorney Chase Mallory countered by alleging that Cole had been abused by Mott on previous occasions and was preparing to move out of the house she shared with Mott and their then three-year-old daughter.
Mallory said on the day of the shooting, Mott “grabbed Cole off her bed, threw her against the wall, and punched her on her head and face.”
He said that when Mott left the room, Cole retrieved an AR-15 rifle she had hidden under her bed and loaded it with ammunition she kept in a closet. He said Cole was trying to get out of the house when she encountered Mott in a hallway.
The trial resumes Tuesday, Feb. 1.