WARREN TRIAL Lawyer says client didn't plan to kill

The defendant could receive the death penalty if convicted.
WARREN -- A defense attorney has told a three-judge panel that his 28-year-old client is guilty of murder but not aggravated murder.
Atty. Lawrence Smith of Akron said in his opening statement Wednesday that the evidence will show that Eric Porterfield did not intend to kill anyone.
"This is murder, but it is not aggravated murder because there was no intent," Smith said. He noted that Porterfield went to the home to rob it but that he did not want to kill anyone.
Smith and Atty. Thomas Adgate, who are representing Porterfield, chose to have the three judges hear the case instead of a jury.
Judges W. Wyatt McKay, Andrew Logan and Thomas Swift are presiding over the capital murder case in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court.
Porterfield, Ronald Shaffer, 20, of Newton Falls, and Dennis B. Gossett, 35, of Colt Street, were indicted in the June 23 shooting deaths of Garry D. Bell, 40, of 3066 state Route 5, Leavittsburg, and Charles Mathey III, 40, of Milton Boulevard, Newton Falls.
Shaffer and Porterfield also were indicted on attempted murder charges. Police said the two wounded David Harper, 38, of Prospect Street, Newton Township, in the same crime.
Shaffer has been convicted of all the charges and sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole. Gossett pleaded guilty and has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Porterfield could receive the death penalty if convicted.
Described as a follower: Smith noted that Porterfield, who dropped out of school in 10th grade, is not educated and is "a follower."
"He woke up the morning of June 23 and was playing with his kids," Smith said. "He went and got a job and then he was contacted by Shaffer and Gossett and made the saddest decision of his life."
Smith said that Shaffer and Gossett persuaded Porterfield to go with them to rob Harper's home. Smith said that Shaffer had robbed the house before. "Shaffer bought the guns and the ammunition," Smith said.
When the three got to the house, Gossett decided not to go inside, Smith said. Porterfield and Shaffer went in. Someone started firing a gun and Porterfield began firing, thinking people were shooting at him.
"He wasn't pointing his gun at anyone," Smith said.
Porterfield pleaded guilty in April but was allowed to withdraw it in May.