GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - "This wasn't self-defense. This was a fender bender."
That's how the prosecution characterized the mortal wounding of Lance Byers on Feb. 21 in what has been called a case of road rage.
The defense, not surprisingly, disagreed.
Exactly one week after the shooting on Lafayette Avenue SE at State Street in the Heritage Hill neighborhood, Jeanette Davis was arrested and charged with shooting the 42-year-old father, who was on his way to work at the nearby DHS office.
Her brother, Jountay Davis, was charged with being an accessory after the fact. His attorney, Frank Stanley, stressed to jurors in his opening statement that his client is not charged with causing Byers' death.
Court documents obtained by 24 Hour News 8 before the trial showed a Grand Rapids police detective said Jeanette confessed to shooting Byers.
She said she carried the gun because she was afraid of other people. Her attorney, James Malinowski, told jurors in his opening argument Tuesday that it was "understandable" that she would carry a gun.
He said that Byers had been driving in an "angry and frustrated" way before he "rammed" into the Davis' car that February morning.
Malinowski said that his client tried to stop the fight that ensued, but Byers "wouldn't let it go." He said Jeanette shot Byers only because he allegedly had put her brother in a headlock and she feared for her brother's safety.
"It's one of these very strange events that, had it been two minutes later, it never would have happened. Had they been two minutes earlier, it never would have happened," said Malinowski.
Prosecutors said that Jeanette murdered Byers after the fender bender -- plain and simple.
"Essentially what started this all was a fender bender," said prosecutor Chris Becker. "And it's almost over-playing it to call it a fender bender."
Jeanette is charged and being tried with second-degree murder and felony firearm.
Her brother, 21-year-old Jountay Zeamer Davis, who goes by Zeamer, turned himself in and is cooperating with police. He is charged with being an accessory after the fact to second-degree murder and being a second-time habitual offender.
His attorney, Stanley, said that when Jountay first contacted him the day after Byers was killed, he made it clear he didn't want to be blamed for something he didn't do.
"The gentleman in the back kept his hands down to his side," witness Rudolph Malmquist about Byers. He witnessed the moments after Byers' car hit the Davis' vehicle. "And the guy from the car in the front [Jountay] was doing the pointing. That's not to say that the guy in the back wasn't yelling, as well. They were both shouting."
Both the prosecution and several witnesses said Byers was fighting to stay alive after he was shot.
"I hadn't finished calling 911 when I heard a popping or bang sound, said witness Jeff Vanhattun. "And I immediately looked up and at that point, I looked up and I saw a vehicle going slowly down the road with someone half-in, half-out."
Several witnesses described Byers as being half-in and -out of his slowly rolling car after he was shot.
A nurse who happened to be passing the scene stopped to help Byers and attempt to wife him CPR.
"When I did chest compressions a bunch of blood," said Lynn Wolters while sobbing. "He just spurt out a lot of blood and I know I broke some ribs because I heard them popping."
24 Hour News 8's Amanda Jarrett and Dani Carlson contributed to this report.
GRAM Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony in front of a festive downtown crowd at Rosa Parks Circle Friday night.
Two people were taken to the hospital after one vehicle crossed the center line, causing a head-on crash in Ada Township Friday night.
Police say snow is making roads "treacherous" and are urging people to stay home if possible.