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Jury deliberations continue in double-murder trial

By Linda Looney-Bond

lbond@news-daily.com

A Clayton County jury is scheduled to continue deliberating today in a double-murder trial involving the 2006 shooting deaths of two Ellenwood men.

Defense attorneys for Gary Hakeem Brown, 25, and Kevin Michael Brewington, 24, rested their cases Monday morning without calling any witnesses. The two co-defendants, along with a third man, who will be tried separately later, are accused of shooting to death Norris Degree and Stanley Brown on March 20, 2006, at the Cobblestone Flats Apartments, on Rex Road in Ellenwood.

After calling several witnesses, the prosecution rested its case Friday. The jury began deliberating Monday afternoon, following closing arguments that began Monday morning.

Prosecutors argued that an eyewitness to the shootings identified Gary Brown, Kevin Brewington, and the third co-defendant, Tyrone Vincent Brown, 27, as the men who shot the victims.

However, defense attorneys argued that, according to testimony from police, the eyewitness initially said she did not see what happened, and later gave authorities several different accounts of the incident.

The lead detective in the case, Clayton County Police Detective Larry White, testified for the prosecution Friday, saying that he had met with the manager of the Cobblestone Flats Apartments, Jackie Green, the day after the murders. He said the name of a resident in the complex, Shannon Dean, came up during the discussion.

White did not elaborate on the conversation, but in a warrantless arrest affidavit he filed in Clayton County Magistrate Court, he did give further details: "Management staff did advise this investigator the problem apartments in the complex had been U5 and R2," he wrote. Dean lived in unit R2, according to testimony in the trial.

As a result of his discussion with Green, White said he sought to locate Dean. According to the affidavit, when White located Dean, she stated that she had witnessed the murders, and named Brewington, Gary Brown and Tyrone Brown as the perpetrators.

During cross-examination of White on Friday, Brewington's defense attorney, Mawuli Mel Davis, pointed out inconsistencies in Dean's statements, which White conceded did exist.

Initially, on March 20, 2006, Dean told police that she did not see the shootings, White said on the stand. However, on March 27, Dean told White that she was coming back from the mailbox the night of the murders, and saw five men having a conversation. She said she later saw sparks coming from a gun one of the co-defendants was holding, according to White.

On May 3, White picked up a written statement from Dean, which she had prepared and signed outside of his presence, White testified in court. In the written statement, Dean said she was leaving her apartment, on the way to the mailbox, and when she started to walk down the stairs, she saw Norris Degree and Stanley Brown lying on the ground, with three men standing over them and shooting.

The jury in the case of Gary Brown and Kevin Brewington is scheduled to resume deliberations at 9 a.m., today, according to the district attorney's office.

Tyrone Brown, the third co-defendant, had been scheduled to go on trial last week with the other two, but his trial was postponed after his attorney, Loletha Denise Hale, was held in contempt of court and jailed by the judge, after coming to court and saying she was not prepared to try the case.