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Testimony opens in murder trial

LAWRENCEVILLE -- With a piercing stare, Brianna Morgan identified for jurors Devin Grell as the man who twice shot her on the lawn of her boyfriend's Lawrenceville home in 2008, leaving them both for dead.

Grell's defense attorney argued Morgan, a key witness, has lied about the double-shooting before, and could be doing so Tuesday afternoon as the murder trial unfolded.

To the defense, the slaying of Donnie Edouard, 20, was gang-motivated. He was fatally shot once in the face in an upstairs bedroom of the Alcovy Park Drive home he shared with several family members, including his infant daughter, who was in that room.

Both sides concede that Morgan was shot in the hip and ear as the gunman barreled out of the home, hopped in a green SUV with another man and sped off. Jurors are asked to determine which of the two men was the gunman.

Morgan described Edouard as a doting father and hard worker who'd dabbled in selling marijuana but was determined to straighten out his life. She'd hung out with Grell before, and was positive he shot her, she said.

"You don't forget that," she said.

In interviews after the shootings, friends described Grell and Edouard as best friends, chums since their days at Dacula High School.

Atlanta-based defense attorney Michael Mann said the two were gang members. They claimed the Rollin' 60's Crips, named after a street in the Compton area of Los Angeles, Mann said.

Mann told jurors the other man in the SUV was a Blood, historically a rival of Crips, which motivated him to kill Edouard.

"Gang members have loyalty," Mann said. "That's why (Grell) would never have shot (Edouard)."

Grell faces a life sentence on counts of murder, felony murder, burglary, aggravated assault and numerous weapons charges.

Prior to his arrest a day after the killing, Grell had been free of prison for five months. He served four years of a six-year sentence for stabbing a fellow Dacula student in the abdomen at school in August 2003. No mention of the previous conviction was made in court Tuesday.

Jon Setzer, assistant district attorney, told jurors the case boils down to Grell's attempts to control the situation by shooting Morgan, an eyewitness, and lying to police.

"We ultimately have a story that the defendant is unable to control," Setzer said. "A story that points directly to his guilt."