DAWSONVILLE — The trial of a Dawson County man accused in the 2014 shooting death of a popular little league coach has begun.
Defense attorneys are not disputing that their client Herman James "Bo" Seppenfield VII fired the deadly shots that claimed the life of 37-year-old Brandon Weaver on Nov. 22, 2014.
Prosecutors have that part of the story correct, attorney Richard Stepp told the jury in his opening statement Tuesday morning.
"We say no crime was committed," he said. "It's a tragedy, no question. The question you have to ask, the question you have to answer ... was Bo justified in the law?"
Stepp said Seppenfield was defending his home and family when he fired a 9mm Beretta at close range, striking Weaver twice, once each in the chest and side.
Weaver, a father of three and 1995 South Forsyth High School graduate, died at the Whitney Place scene a short time after emergency personnel arrived.
Seppenfield, 51, is charged with felony murder, malice murder, aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.
Jennifer Geller, an assistant district attorney for the Northeastern Judicial Circuit, said the state will prove the shooting was not justified or self-defense.
"This is about an unarmed victim who was begging for the life of his best friend, of his brother-in-law," she said.
Officials have said the trial could take up to two weeks. The charges stem from a fight that escalated into gunfire at the southeastern Dawson County home off Dawson Forest Road.
The fight reportedly started when Weaver and his brother-in-law, Marty Buice, went to the home to confront the residents.
Among the state's witnesses Tuesday were Weaver's wife, Heather, and 13-year-old son.
Weaver’s son, who was 12 at the time, had been at the home earlier that evening for a birthday party.
During his testimony, the teenager said he felt uncomfortable about drinking and cigar smoking by adults at the party, which led to him leaving along with two friends.
Also arrested in connection with the fight was 25-year-old Tory Jude Miguez, who has been charged with aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during a felony crime.
During a calendar call last month, it was confirmed that Miguez's case would not be heard until Seppenfield's trial was complete.
Last September, Superior Court Judge Jason Deal granted a motion filed on behalf of Seppenfield to sever his proceedings from those of Miguez.
In addition to his wife and son, Weaver’s survivors include two other sons and numerous family members and friends throughout many communities.
According to his obituary, Weaver graduated from South in 1995. Forsyth County News records show he was a member of the newspaper’s 1994 All-County football team as a defensive end.
Weaver then went on to play football at Georgia Military College in Milledgeville and then Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell, S.D.