OPELIKA, Ala. (WRBL) – The man charged with killing an Auburn officer and wounding two others will take the stand and testify in his defense.

The announcement was made Thursday afternoon as the defense began presenting their case. Prosecutors rested their case on Wednesday. 

32-year-old Grady Wilkes is accused of strapping on a bulletproof vest and helmet, wielding an AR-15, in the deadly shooting of Auburn Officer Will Buechner and wounding Officer Evan Elliott and Webb Sistrunk. 

Wilkes’s girlfriend testified he choked and threaded to kill her. When officers went to go talk with Wilkes, Wilkes opened fire on the officers.

Buechner was shot and killed in 2019 outside a mobile home at Arrowhead Trailer Park in Auburn. Jurors learned Buechner was struck twice severing his spine and puncturing his lung. Through Buechner’s body cam – jurors heard him utter his last words “Lord, please help me” as he struggled for air.

Following Wilkes’ arrest, investigators testified Wilkes guided them to where he used leaves to cover his bulletproof vest, helmet and rifle with a laser target designator.

Investigators recovered more than 20 fired cartridges.

The defense doesn’t dispute Wilkes pulled the trigger but claims he’s not guilty because of mental disease or defect, and he suffers from a laundry list of mental health issues.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty in the case.