Michael Smith changes mind, decides to testify

Just after 9:30 a.m. on Monday, August 17, Michael Smith, the man accused of paralyzing USC student Martha Childress in the Five Points area of Columbia in October of 2013, changed his mind and decided to testify in his own defense.

He took the stand Monday morning and said he had a gun on him for "protection." He went on to say that he is not a gang member, but has a lot of gang member friends. He told the courtroom he was about to head home when he realized there was a problem going on. He says he heard multiple shots and he fired one shot back. While on the stand he said "if those guys hadn't shot first, we wouldn't be here right now."

Smith's one shot, ultimately paralyzed Martha Childress.

During his time on the stand, Smith said "I made a lot of mistakes in the past. It was in the heat of the moment." When asked why he fired a shot that night he said "I was scared for my life, I was scared I was going to get shot."

Smith also claims the police officer who arrested him the night of the shooting didn't advise him of his rights.

You can follow the conversation online by using the hashtag #michaelsmithtrial

We will have the latest on Michael Smith's testimony as soon as it becomes available. Stay with News 2 for updates.


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